Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate and Yasmin Paige as Jordana give both strong and
more importantly believable performances in the lead roles.
From first time director Richard Ayoade comes Submarine, a film about Oliver Tate. Oliver is a teenager who has taken an interest in a young girl he goes to school with called Jordana. His family life is already rather poorly with his parents seeming to be growing apart, matters become exponentially worse when his mothers old boyfriend moves in next door. Jordana soon enough takes and interest in Oliver who seeks to resolves any issues he has with his new girlfriend and problematic family situation in shall we say odd ways.
Oliver is far from the typical teenager and shows many trappings of someone who whilst intellectually mature or longing to be, is in many ways an immature character unable to understand the basic elements of the society he belongs in. This results in the rather unusual plans he has to 'fix' his life. His attempts of course at best resemble a band aid and do nothing to resolve the core problems, which when he is faced with he responds with avoidance. Put simply Oliver is a character who wants to fit in and belong, he however by his own thoughts and behaviour simply does not. Submarine also delves into Oliver fathers depression possibly along with his own and provides for what in many ways is a very conventional coming of age story told in an unconventional way as it fells far more based in reality then most films manage with characters also struggling with far more relatable problems (be them real or simply perceived) then what most similar films present.
The acting throughout Submarine is exceptional, from Craig Roberts as Oliver to the now oscar nominated Sally Hawkins as his mother the cast on all fronts deliver believable and at times nuanced performances. Likewise the music is superb if not unexpected often suddenly interrupting what is happening suddenly and loudly reflecting the degree of importance Oliver puts on things which are comparatively trivial to what else is happening in his life.
Like The Double, Submarine features some gorgeous photography.
When comparing Submarine with the directors next film The Double he already seems to have a distinct style, common story elements and cast. Both films feature a protagonist longing to fit in, have someone in particular with whom they are romantically interested, both protagonists are misfits, both films feature a number of the some actors and actresses and the films take place in a time period that is indistinct. With that said the films in the execution are notably different. Most notably regarding the humour, whereas the double featured a dark dry sense of humour with a self concious tone, submarine provides far fewer amusing moments that are often awkward in how they are amusing, which is fitting giving the characters and story present. Likewise whilst Submarine is certainly well shoot, it doesn't ooze the style of The Double and instead presents a relatively indistinct time in a very real world English setting. Whilst I wouldn't usually compare to films as in depth as this the films whilst clearly different are distinctly similar and I fell those who enjoy one will very likely enjoy the other.
Whilst I can't help but be somewhat let down viewing Submarine after The Double, most of my reasons for preferring one over come down to entirely subjective taste and what I tend to favour in films. Submarine thankfully stands on its own as a well shoot, terrifically acted film that is often awkwardly amusing that tells a conventional story in an unconventional manner and comes highly recommended.