Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Son of Rambow is a delightfully British movie. Set in 1982, this film is about two young boys who set out to make their own action movie after having been captivated by First Blood, the first Rambo movie.

The boys, Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) and Lee Carter (Will Poulter), are not initially friends. They first meet when Will, a member of the Plymouth Brethren (similar to the Amish, I'm told) is sitting out in the corridor, having been sent out of class as they are about to watch a documentary as he is not permitted to watch TV. Lee is thrown out of class for being a general hell raiser (as regular an occurrence as Will's weekly documentary exclusion, we soon learn) and Lee takes it upon himself to bully Will into helping him out with his film project.

At the same time, a group of French exchange students arrive at the school, among them, Didier Revol (Jules Sitruk, Stanley Kubrick's grandson), seemingly the most chic and outrageously cool of all the French students, who instantly captures the minds and hearts of the English students who set eyes on him.

The two plot lines interact when Didier, typically Gallicly bored with everything that has been offered to him by the adoring English students so far, discovers Will's notebook, filled with beautiful sketches of monsters, heroes and other movie ideas. They hijack the movie in Lee's absence and with Will's naive, trusting consent; Lee, by now revealed as an outsider in the school, is left ostracised and resentful when he returns.

To say anymore, I feel, would be to give the entire movie away. But it is very much a British film; it is funny, quirky, sincere, charming and touching. One suspects that an American movie-maker simply would not have been able to make a film as great as this if they had been given the same script and story idea. Other great British movies which fall in this category would be Love Actually and About a Boy.

This film was written and directed by Garth Jennings, director of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and was meant to be his first film, but ended up taking seven years to make. The plot was inspired by Garth's own childhood adventures with his friends when they pretended to make their own Rambo movie.

So as to ground the setting of the movie firmly in the '80s, Garth sprinkles music from that era throughout the show, with songs from Depeche Mode and The Cure featuring in the film. He also uses slang from the '80s to make it more authentic (with the school children calling Lee a "scab" and the kids generally using "it's skills" to refer to anything cool).

The day I went to see the film, I had had a rather bad day at work.; between this movie, and being plied with chocolate and ice-cream by a colleague, everything just seemed all right. But even without the sugary treats, I'll say that if anyone watches this show, and doesn't feel happy afterwards, then that person has a heart made of stone.


Favourite scenes:
Will (as the son of Rambow): I need to find my dad!
Didier (as Le Wolf and said in a very French accent): Okay, I will help you find the daddy-man.

Didier (coughing and again in a very French accent): I need a coca cola!

Will (as the son of Rambow): Let's split up!
Lee (as Colonel Chapman and after a very long pause): Yes. Okay.

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