Sunday, June 15, 2008

Son of Rambow

This is director Garth Jennings' follow-up to the gluttonous and charmless Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This time he wisely chose a nuanced, British, coming of age story. The movie is charming and a rare glimpse of what it really feels like being a child.

At its core, the movie is about a forbidden friendship. Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is the eldest son in a fatherless, yet very religious family. He has lived a sheltered childhood devoid of television, movies, and just about anything secular. The extent of this is demonstrated in a early scene where he has to excuse himself from the showing of a documentary in class. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with Lee Carter (Will Poulter), who can only be described as the bad boy of the school. Lee opens Will's eyes by showing him a bootlegged copy of First Blood- the first Rambo movie. What started as a tentative friendship based on intimidation blossoms into genuine comradery. Unfortunately they are forced to keep their friendship a secret, which strains both of their relationship.

The common ground that two of them initially find is their love of the movie. Initially Will agrees to be Lee's stunt-man in his own version of Rambo. There is nothing more fun than kids with a video camera. It's like Be Kind Rewind- except with actual kids, instead of Jack Black just acting like one. My friends and I used to do this thing, and I can relate to just how much fun it really is. As the movie progresses the stunts get more and more elaborate and dangerous. They're fun because you know nothing is really going to happen, even when Will is nose diving out of trees.

Despite all the fun dare devil scenes, it manages to delve into the importance of childhood friendships and growing up. Even though this time is nothing more than a footnote in your life, at the time, you can't imagine anything more important or serious. Son of Rambow really captures his mentality while still remaining utterly charming. Both Milner and Poulter are wonderful. Granted, it's probably not much of stretch for them as these weren't the most intense childrens' roles I've seen recently.

The movie may be a little slow for some. Not a whole lot happens aside from the trials associated with their friendship. It's billed as a comedy, but there's not much in the way of actual laughs. It's just a touching little story about two boys just trying to survive childhood as best they can.


No comments: