It cannot always bode well when a film’s reputation is centred around a personality, but in some cases there are lucky successes. One example is this week’s release, Submarine, which marks comedian and writer Richard Ayoade’s first tentative venture into cinema.
Ayoade has a well-established reputation in comedy, and with good reason. A former star of the Cambridge Footlights, he has been involved in irresistible homegrown works such as Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and The IT Crowd. But as an unproven fledgling director, he has produced a surprisingly mature work for the silver screen.
Submarine follows Oliver Tate, an anal, socially inept and idiosyncratic teen, who nevertheless views himself as an avante garde icon. At school he meets an equally odd girl and is focused on consummating their mutual affection. Meanwhile, his depressive father and his mother’s possible infidelities add depth and complication to the plot.
Submarine is excellent on several fronts. Its offbeat narrative, subtle humour and rich characterisation will please the film snobs attracted by Ayoade’s darker comedy works. At the same time, the film is warm, accessible and funny and will also please a less demanding audience.