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DVD Review: Submarine

October 4, 2011

Submarine – An Alliance Films’ Release

DVD Release Date: October 4th, 2011

Rated 14A for coarse language, sexual content, not for children

Running time: 97 minutes

Richard Ayoade (dir.)

Richard Ayoade (screenplay)

Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne

Andrew Hewitt (music)

Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate

Yasmin Paige as Jordana Bevan

Noah Taylor as Lloyd Tate

Sally Hawkins as Jill Tate

Our reviews below:


Submarine DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

At just fifteen, Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is already very concerned with how the world around him might turn out.  He desperately wants to be the boyfriend of an equally eccentric pyromaniac, Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige), even if it means sinking down to the lowest level of bullying.  But equally important to the young lad is that he keep the flame burning between his mum (Sally Hawkins) and extremely introverted dad (Noah Taylor) by monitoring the dimmer switch in their bedroom to see if they have been sexually active during the night.  Especially after his mum has started hanging out with their new age neighbour, Graham (Paddy Considine).

Director Richard Ayoade handles the quirky cast of characters with a unique visual style that is easy to admire once you get into the film.  Because every character has their own fair share of eccentricities, not one feels out of place in this little Welsh town, even when they are at their weirdest.  To be sure, Submarine is a strange and often offbeat little film that won’t be for everybody, but those who get into it will find a lot to admire in the quirky performances and hilariously self-assured use of voice over narration.  This one is worth checking out on DVD.

The DVD includes a couple of deleted and extended scenes as well as a ‘making of’ featurette.


Submarine DVD Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

Submarine is a small indie film from Wales.  It tells the story of Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), a highschooler who is trying to get and keep a girlfriend, figure out who he is, and is worried that his parents (Sally Hawkins & Noah Taylor) aren’t getting along as well as they used to (and monitoring the dimmer switch in their bedroom for proof of this).  When he meets Jordana (Yasmin Paige), it seems that his girl troubles are over, until he realizes that she is more than meets the eye.  To make his life more difficult, his mother’s first love Graham (Paddy Considine), who is a mystic, moves in next door to them and she starts spending time with this ‘new’ neighbour – without his father.  As Oliver tries to figure things out, we are invited for a strange and quirky little look into his life.

The whole film is straight from Oliver’s perspective.  We learn a lot through voiceover, as he narrates his life to us.  What makes the film work is the fact that while everyone is very strange – and a little bit messed up at times – they are actually very interesting to watch.  The feel is very indie, but manages to strike a good style balance of its own, so especially if the trailer intrigues you, this one would be worth checking out.


Submarine DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Set in 1970’s Wales, Submarine follows one boy’s desperate attempts to save both his parent’s marriage and his own relationship with his girlfriend.  The boy, Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is a 15-year-old whose life is turning upside down.  He has done some detective work by spying on his parents’ dimmer switch, as well as their kooky neighbour Graham (Paddy Considine), a new age psychic who may be having an affair with Oliver’s mum (Sally Hawkins).  His father (Noah Taylor) – who nowadays would likely be placed on the autism spectrum – has bouts of major depression when things get too hard.  Oliver also has symptoms of depression, a combination of both family dynamics and genetics.  What adds to his stress is the fact that he is trying to please Jordana (Yasmin Paige), his pyromaniac girlfriend whose mother has cancer.

Submarine is an interesting film.  Shot in faded colour, it captures both a retro look as well as a sense of bleakness.  The use of narration works and the dynamics between characters is believable.  While the characters are strange, they are not unlikable.  Even Oliver, whose behaviour is disturbed at times, is still a sympathetic character.  In one instance, his skewed logic almost leads him to commit a psychopathic act, but a sad occurence prevents him from doing so.  The acting is believable and well done.  Watch for a brief cameo from executive producer Ben Stiller on a television soap opera.  Submarine is a well made film that I would recommend to anyone interested in independent filmmaking or mental health.


Submarine DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, Submarine is a quirky Welsh coming of age story about a definitely odd fifteen year old, Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts).  Told from Oliver’s point of view, the film watches as he does his ‘routine search of his parents bedroom’ to monitor their love life, gets himself an even odder pyromaniac girlfriend, Jordana (Yasmin Paige), tries to lose his virginity and desperately tries to keep his world from spinning out of control.

What makes Submarine so entertaining are the odd, quirky characters throughout the film.  Watching Oliver’s parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor) it’s obvious why he is the way he is.  The other source of his anxiety is his next-door neighbour Graham (Paddy Considine), a new age guru who just might be having an affair with Oliver’s mum.  The acting in this quirky, darkish-comedy is excellent and the writing is sharp.  Submarine may be a little too stylized for mainstream audiences, but for those who like this sort of thing, it’s worth a look.


Submarine DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Before Submarine begins, a written message informs American viewers of its setting in Wales, a proud nation in the shadow of its more powerful neighbour, a fact with which we in Canada can sympathize. The extremely justified titles that follow in a classic all-caps British font set the stage for the quirky 1970s coming of age tale to follow. Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) wanders through life in a pea coat pondering the meaning of it all while running a gauntlet of high school bullies. His mother Jill (Sally Hawkins) frets about his safety while his father Lloyd (Noah Taylor) has taken lack of expression almost to the threshold of consciousness. Oliver senses a kindred spirit in classmate Jordana (Yasmin Paige), leading to a weird courtship that is the heart of the film. Meanwhile, Oliver is also concerned about his mother’s interest in the neighbour Graham (Paddy Considine), a flashy new age guru with which Jill shares a past.

Submarine is the first theatrical feature from director Richard Ayoade, who, like the stars of The Trip, is known to fans of British TV but otherwise new to American audiences more familiar with the name Ben Stiller appearing above the poster title. As one of over a dozen listed producers, Stiller’s role seems limited to a Hitchcock cameo on a bedroom TV screen. If you like the sort of slow awkward pace, eccentric characters and hilarious absurdity of a film like Napoleon Dynamite you will not be disappointed by Submarine.


Consensus: With strong performances, quirky characters and excellent narration from its teenaged protagonist, Submarine is a unique coming of age film that is handled with stylish cinematography from director Richard Ayoade.  *** (Out of 4)

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