By Hilary Webb
About as weird and Welsh as it gets, Submarine (2010) is based on a book by the same name written by Swansea native Joe Dunthorne. While the film fails to keep close to the book in specific Swansea references, including Singleton Park and our very own Taliesin, it deserves a watch.
Director Richard Ayoade (who you probably know best as Maurice Moss in The IT Crowd) does the book justice as we follow the twisted world of 15-year old Oliver Tate, played by rising star Craig Roberts. With extreme close-ups and babbling monologues, Oliver manages to make everyone he knows, and the audience, uncomfortable. We follow Oliver’s attempts to get the girl – the enigmatic Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige), to lose his virginity and to keep his parents together as his mystic neighbour (a suspected ninja) disrupts his family life.
As well as cracking one-liners like ‘my mum gave a handjob to a mystic’, the film is accompanied by an immense original soundtrack by Alex Turner, which helps make the film a joy to watch.
While Oliver’s eccentric parents aren’t played by Welsh actors, they are fantastically portrayed by the wonderful Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) and Noah Taylor. Apart from that, Submarine is packed full of wonderful Welsh talent including Melanie Walters (Gavin and Stacey) and Steffan Rhodri (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1).
The book is definitely worth a read, but Submarine is one of the rare examples which works even better as a film thanks to its incredible direction, soundtrack and cast.