Richard Ayoade, of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and The IT Crowd fame, has constructed a quirky, witty and heartfelt debut with Submarine. Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, the writer/director has expertly captured the awkward, alienating experience of teenage life for those who don’t quite fit in.
Wide-eyed odd-ball Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) must juggle the responsibilities of keeping his parents’ marriage intact and maintaining his relationship with the equally precocious Jordana (Yasmin Paige) through a combination of deception, light arson, seduction and house breaking. Obstacles include not being very good at most of these things, and lascivious, mullet-sporting mystic Paddy Considine.
Immediately calling to mind Wes Anderson and a more involving, less smug Noah Baumbach, Submarine manages to be genuinely hilarious whilst preserving a sinister tone riddled with existential angst more attributable to Bergman. Full of memorable lines and eccentric charm, Ayoade’s film is cine-literate and beautifully constructed. With a mesmeric central performance from Roberts, Submarine stands out as one of the most confident and original British film debuts in years. [Chris Fyvie]