Combustible Celluloid
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With: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Sally Hawkins, Darren Evans, Osian Cai Dulais, Lily McCann, Otis Lloyd, Elinor Crawley, Steffan Rhodri, Gemma Chan, Melanie Walters, Sion Tudor Owen, Adrienne O'Sullivan
Written by: Richard Ayoade, based on a novel by Joe Dunthorne
Directed by: Richard Ayoade
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content
Running Time: 97
Date: 09/12/2010

Submarine (2011)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Shallow Depths

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Richard Ayoade, an actor and a veteran of short films, television, and concert videos, makes his feature directing debut here, and he probably overcompensates a bit with some flashy direction; he loads up his story with narration, flashbacks, fantasy sequences, slow-motion, "breaking the fourth wall," and many other gimmicks.

In 1980s-era Wales, fifteen year-old Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) decides that he's ready for his first girlfriend, and he carefully selects Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige) for several important qualities, the foremost being that she will actually speak to him. Together they embark on a turbulent relationship, heading (hopefully) toward sex. At the same time, Oliver's parents (Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins) have hit a rocky place in their marriage, complicated by the fact that his mother's old flame (Paddy Considine) has just moved to a house nearby. Can Oliver manage to save his parents' marriage without jeopardizing his new relationship?

However, given the worn-out nature of the "coming-of-age" genre, the director's little tricks do help bring some life back into this familiar story. The movie has a reckless feel, and it's not as careful or precious as other entries. It ventures into some fairly brave relationship territory ranging from sex troubles to communication troubles. The terrific cast helps a great deal as well, ranging from veterans Hawkins, Taylor and Considine to the young newcomers. Ben Stiller was a producer.

Anchor Bay released the new Blu-Ray edition. Extras include about 13 minutes of deleted scenes (not mastered in high-def), and an official "making of" featurette (10 minutes). Image and sound quality is fine.

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