"Submarine", Film4 Productions, 2010
Ayoade's "Submarine" is a beautifully-realised love-letter to not only the coming of age genre but also to the lens at which us as humans often view the naivety of youth. Instantaneously quirky and painfully sad, the magic of this film is caught in the balance between the multiple dimensions of its characters and its screenplay that leaves no room for fat and understands exactly where the general nature of its narrative is going.
Deep-seeded within the director's most renowned work to date is a sharp and attentive eye for humanity. The self-awareness that is used to examine love and depression never ventures beyond the realm of plausibility and always feel contained and earned; Always coming from a heartfelt place that understands the melodramatic poetry of finding oneself. This is achieved through an incredibly precise sense of naturalness. Despite how individual, emotionally vast and slightly unhinged Oliver's story is, the incredible attention to detail with pacing and direction harnesses something bitterly relatable through the refreshingly-stylised melodrama. The rhythm of the screenplay is surprisingly stripped-back, simply watching Oliver as he is helplessly carried by his problems that have a satisfying amount of depth and texture to them - playing out in a vast array of different ways that, although may feel familiar, feel wholly original and appropriately aligned to the murky eccentricity that shapes personality of Submarine; Capturing its dynamical and colourful intimate moments just as perfectly as empty and hollow moments. The way in which the structure bleeds into a self-contained 3 Act Paradigm from the innocent generality of its opening act brings to light the interesting way in which the concept of time manifests itself as the true underlying conflict that carries the diegesis - something which is pulled off and explored almost effortlessly. This is also accredited to the editing - an aspect to this film that feels timeless in how it manages to weave sporadic poetic imagery and banal exposition in such a beautiful and elegant way, underlying the temporary nature of life in equal-parts excruciatingly-existential and hopefully-life affirming ways. Every scene is a display of raw, powerful emotion that comes together in a detailed, funny, askewed portrait of the confusion that comes with tackling the complexities of life.
Overall, although Ayoade does not shy away from the darkness of "Submarine's" subject matter, he cautiously dips in and out of the puddle of self-seriousness in order to stretch out the universality of its themes and violently wrap it around its perfectly-casted characters. I loved and enjoyed the banal poetry of Oliver's infatuation and I only wish more coming-of-age films had just as much to say rather than untangle the shallowness of its uninspired stories.