Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Submarine (2010), Don't avoid the expedition but don't forget the periscope

The ocean is six miles deep. The metaphor is that of the submarine, the downward lift of the underwaters, plunging through water pressure all the way down to the limits of the human organic tidiness, or shall I say, coherent and levelheaded arrangement of body parts. Bellow, immediate implosion. Richard Ayoade's directorial debut reflects on the journey of those vehicles, the voyages and its crews. However, the beauty of such relies not in the technical approach, for he allows that no more than a few seconds, but in the wit, the tenderness and the sincerity of his allegory in an unexpected vision of a teenager's coming of age dramas.

Oliver Tate, very nice performed by Craig Roberts, wonders how his class, his family and the US would react to his death, the first moment on what people think and how people worry about him. But then the film turns into what he thinks and how he worries about people: his parents in mid-life relationship crisis and his new girlfriend, Jordana Bevan. That is the way he crushes against his adolescence and those are the waters he swims in now, the dramas that shape the bridge to his eventual self-found identity.

From the book of Joe Dunthorne, Ayoade had the fine taste to pick the obvious teenage itches, the sexual doubts, explorations and try-outs, and tear them into the chaptered story, breeding a lovely sad-comical but totally natural path. He employs very interesting moving shots, extraordinary editing almost organically connected to Alex Turner and Andrew Hewitt's British love songs, self-aware funny nouvelle-vagued voice-over and wavers between a cheerful palette of colors and the coolness of the long-shot scenarios. Then the screenplay is so rich in original little moments, enjoyable quirky characters and a wonderful feeling of fluidness and truthfulness in their actions and relationships.

At some point of our lives, maybe we all go down there, diving in the pool, disappearing under the half-feet full bathtub, prompting an actual submarine. Down to that limit, this of an emotional disruption danger, eager to cross it, hopeful to overcome it. The inevitability of the insecure submersion against the unavoidable instinct of joyful emersion. Don't avoid the expedition but don't forget the periscope.

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