Monday, November 21, 2011

Submarine - The Weird Tale of Love, Welsh Style


This is cinema.  Truly a piece of cinematic art, cinematic ingenuity, cinematic magic, cinematic genius - this is cinema.  This is why we love film - to be transported away from the mundane, the trivial, the ritualized, the route, to be swept into the impossible, improbable, the unlikely and believe.  We the audience are left with goose flesh at the stage of this artistic flurry - colors, perspectives, dialog like notes left penciled in on the edges of a epic poetic masterpiece - wild, lovely, comforting and chilling in its innovation, its tiny grandiosity, its limitless restrained timelessness.    

Other than some music videos for Sheffield's finest, the Arctic Monkeys, director Richard Ayoade has not done much directing...Submarine, then, will be the first of hopefully many feature length projects to come from this visionary and liquid aueture.  The lucidity of the nearly twilight'ed tonality is nothing short of visual deliciousness.  Bold in one moment and muted in the next, Ayoade's vision plays on emotional cues using editing, highly stylised mise-en-scene and the strangely lovely narrative voice of the protagonist, 15 year old Oliver Tate.  Oliver is in boyhood love with Jordana Bevan.  Neither is very popular, but neither is unpopular either.  Both suffer from being teenagers.  Both have parental fears - Oliver, afraid that his mother is having an affair with a long lost love who has recently returned to live next door fails to post for Jordana as her mother battles cancer.  What we get is a coming of age, love story humored through the mind of a teenage boy of rare intelligence.

Why is this film so luscious?  Let me show you:

           The above still is of Oliver and Jordana, who are about to unceremoniously hold hands for the first time.  Oliver pale and dressed in black is in bold opposition to Jordana dressed in vibrant red.  His hair is floppy and free, while she don's a sharp angled frock.  Both stair straight ahead, Oliver looking dazed with anticipation and Jordana the smirk of being in complete controll.  She is a smoldering ember and he is repressed, controlled careful.

The care with which scenes have been constructed, edited and shot create an experience that is highly cinematic.  No other medium could tell this story in quiet this way.  Submarine a fun, free, fresh, poignant, high calorie, British dark comedy and well worth the $1 at RedBox. 

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