Friday 31 October 2008

Son Of Rambow

Earlier this year I wrote about my experience watching a film at The Rex cinema in Berkhamsted. It's the kind of cinema that reminds you of the magic of the movies so it seems highly appropriate that this film, which shows how that same magic can bring two completely different boys together in celebration of it, should open with a shot of that very same cinema.

One of those boys, Lee Carter, is busy inside making a pirate copy of Rambo: First Blood. Outside, Will, whose fatherless family are part of the Plymouth Brethren, is asked if he will read as part of the congregation gathered there. He is excluded from socialising with outsiders and from watching TV or listening to music so when after a run-in with Lee he ends up watching the aforementioned pirate video his outlook on the world is transformed. His bible, already covered in intricate drawings is now the storyboard for his imagination, at the heart of which is his wish to see his Father again.

Lee meanwhile, a keen amateur film maker is involved in making his entry for the Screen Test competition. He enlists Will as his stuntman, a task he throws himself at with gusto, literally. Together, these two very different boys find friendship in their shared love of film-making. There are some lovely performances from the two boys, plenty of jokes at the expense of the early 1980's and a genuine love of film making has obvioulsly been the driving force behind it all. There's a silly little sub-plot about a French exchange student, who turns heads as soon as he leaves the bus, and his wish to be a film star; the whole thing brilliantly subverted when he gets back on the bus to go home and is greeted by howls of derision from his French classmates, who think he's far from cool.

There are some nice creative touches too with small moments of animation to bring Will's doodling to life and also the perfect rendering of lo-fi film making. But most of all it's the charm that wins you over, a particularly British sense of how to get things done, making for a genuinely enjoyable film.


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