Submarine (UK - BD RB)
Our own Marcus heads to Swansea to see life through a teenage boy's eyes....
Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is fifteen year old schoolboy from Swansea who’s beginning to feel the pressure of life. His parents seem to be on the verge of divorce, thanks largely to his Father’s (Noah Taylor) depression and his Mother spending time with old flame and spiritual ninja (Paddy Considine) and his relationship with new girlfriend Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige) feels more awkward than natural.
Submarine isn’t about much more than that but at the same time it’s about so much more than that. The natural yet quirky approach to this Welsh boy's life is full of unspoken concerns about parents, social status, blossoming love and feeling disconnected from the world around you. There are a handful of funny lines but they never feel all that out for laughs and even Paddy Considine, whose spiky haired mullet alone could have been milked dry of its comedy value, is still played straight down the line and only appears funny because his spiritual insights are so damn clichéd.
As for the story itself, it’s all pretty routine but done in a thoroughly entertaining way. Oliver’s journey slowly builds from quirky outsider to genuine dramatic payoff and for me it's thanks in large part to how well his father’s situation is depicted. We start to see where Oliver could go, how much he’s like his Dad and his slow realization that life doesn’t simply get better by just sitting back and waiting for it to change. Everything comes together to form quite an emotion connection with Oliver and while I wouldn’t go as far as to say this was my favourite film of the year, it’s certainly the best British film I’d seen in a while.
I suppose it’s an easy thing to compare Submarine to the movies of Wes Anderson (though director Richard Ayoade has a way to go to reach that quirky height), the oddities here are celebrated, characters' inner thoughts are perfectly delivered in fun, off beat dialogue and kids talk like well-educated adults like it’s an everyday occurrence. However Ayoade certainly appears to get his own thing across here and he’s certainly on my radar to see what comes
Submarine provides a very natural looking picture but rather than feeling stark and documentary-like, we get a transfer that mixes up well shot Welsh exteriors with warm and welcoming interiors to deliver a rather pretty looking movie.
Oliver’s house feels comfortable. The warmth of the living room with its beigeness has a homely feel to it and that translates across most of the locations (outside of the whiter brighter hospital scene). The darkness of the Welsh night by the sea has a blueness to it that really captures twilight at its best and the daytime scenes in the forest are littered with detailed leaves and trees and without going over the top. It just looks like the best a wintery forest could look.
As for textures, faces are full of details from wrinkles to freckles, Oliver’s navy blue coat alongside Jordana’s bright red Don’t Look Now-ish coat look fantastic but again they don’t feel boosted on the colour front, just striking and great against all of their backdrops. This transfer is really a stunner without showing off. It looks like a movie but regains a real world feel and for a small British comedy you can’t ask for much more than that.
The first noticeable highlight is the soundtrack. Strong songs from Arctic Monkeys' frontman Alex Turner sound crisp and wonderfully full on the DTS-HD Master Audio track and when the dialogue arrives it’s a nice strong element and carries the movie. The other lively parts are some of the louder cuts in scenes that go from near silence to a jump in volume that grasps you. There’s also a good bit of atmospherics with loud classrooms, cats and seagulls to fill out the sound of the town. It’s not a track I’d consider exciting but it’s a great mood maker for the story and the its good elements really shine.
The disc opens with trailers for Attack the Block, Four Lions and Bunny & the Bull.
The commentary is by director Richard Ayoade, writer of the book Joe Dunthorne and the D.O.P. Eric Wilson. The track is funny stuff thanks to Ayoade. All of the points raised are interesting and his comedic spin when questioning everything makes it all that much better. The track tails off a bit towards the end and there’s the odd silent gap but generally it’s a great addition to watching the film.
‘Through the Prism’ (16:01 HD) is the sixteen minutes and one second of the most fun I’ve had with extra features all year. Paddy Considine in character as Graham Purvis telling us about his life and how to live life on the video featured in the film. It's subtle genius and just a delight. The bullshit Paddy is spewing out of this character’s mouth is astonishing. His voice, his mannerisms, his hair—each element is equally breath-taking and I can’t seem to stop watching it.
‘Ben Stiller Message’ (02:32 SD) is a video message from the executive producer to the cast and crew which is good ol’ Stiller doing what he does best.
The just shy of ten minutes worth of deleted scenes are all presented in standard definition and offer up a few slivers of extra laughs.
The extended scenes (04:48 SD) has more Paddy, so it’s all good stuff in my book. The' Interviews' (24:38 SD) feature the cast answering on screen questions and covers a good amount of detail about the making of the film and can be watching individually or as a 'play all' feature.
‘Loco Q&A’ (10:10 SD) is a session at the London Comedy Festival and features the cast and the director giving very funny answers to very straight forward questions and the Glasgow Q&A (SD 11:43) is much the same routine and just as funny.
The ‘Test Shoot’ (03:52 SD) is an early test for the look of the film featuring the scenes when Oliver gets a kiss from Jordana for the first time. Wrapping up, is the music video for ‘Piledrive Waltz' (03:22 SD).
Submarine comes to Blu-ray at just the right time. Just as the overblown summer disappointments wrap up on the big screen, a small screen joy like this is most welcome to get things back on track.
The disc is a success across the board with a great batch of features and a despite the small scale of the movie it still looks and sounds fantastic. This one is well worth checking out so up periscopes and check it out (oh come on, I couldn't go the whole review without a pun about submarines, could I?)
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 1st August 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, LPCM 2.0 Stereo English
Subtitles: English HoH
Extras: Audio Commentary with Richard Ayoade, Joe Dunthorne and Erik Wilson, 'Through the Prism' , Ben Stiller Message, Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes, Interviews, Test Shoot, Alex Turner: 'Piledriver Waltz' (Music video), Glasgow Q&A , Loco Q&A
Easter Egg: No
Director: Richard Ayoade
Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Paddy Considine, Noah Taylor
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 96 minutes
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