Seems I’m on a bit of a Britflick roll at the moment. Fair enough, this is only the second in a row and I’m not going to review another one after, but ignore that and we’ll all be better for it.
The story follows two schoolboys, Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) and Lee Carter (Will Poulter), from completely different backgrounds who get inspired to make a home movie after watching “First Blood” on pirated video. As I mentioned above, the premise is great- but the execution is only semi-great. It’s not through bad acting or anything as the two child leads are fantastic. So good in fact, it makes me a bit jealous that I wasn’t a good actor. Goddamn their talented ways!
Just for once I’d like to see some screwed up kids on screen where the parents and family aren’t to blame. Sure, bad parentage can turn a child into a jerk, but sometimes kids can just be twatjockeys for the hell of it. I’ve met the parents of some right dickheads in my time and they seem perfectly nice. With that ramble over, I’ll try and get back to the original point. Will is shy and retreating because of his heavily religious mother and deceased father. Lee plays up at school and is always in some sort of trouble because of an absent mother and an arsehole older brother. It’s tired and predictable, which is a shame because the film nails other realistic aspects and tweaks the right nostalgia knobs (fnarr, fnarr) Well, that is to say the realism is present through most of the film but then it does something massively cartoonish and slapstick. The tone is all over the place. This isn’t really a bad thing, but I get the feeling that if it settled on one tone it’d make easier viewing.
I love the idea of a sheltered child’s first real contact with television being “First Blood”. I remember seeing “First Blood” when I was a couple of years older than Will and being blown away by Stallone’s killing machine. See? That’s what “Son of Rambow” does very well- make you all nostalgic and misty-eyed. I mean, the film is set three years before I was born and I’m still remeniscing about all things kid-ular. I really like the daydream sequences that look like a hyperactive 7 year old has scribbled over the screen in coloured crayons. The character of French exchange student, Didier (Jules Sitruk) is funny, but not as funny as the film thinks he is. I liked the little twist at the end for Didier as it added some genuine empathy for the character. Plus, Jessica Hynes (née Stevenson- you know- Daisy in “Spaced”) is in it too and that’s always nice. Same goes for a quick Adam Buxton cameo as a teacher with an entirely rational fear of airborne canines.
The words “should be funnier” kept going round and round in my mind when watching it. I couldn’t help but feel that if some big, decent jokes were sprinkled liberally throughout the script, the film would improve greatly. It is quite funny, don’t get me wrong- but it’s not in a laugh out loud way (or “LOL” way if you are 14 and leave retarded comments on YouTube)
“Son of Rambow” is good. However, I do think that there should be more humour in it and just by adding that little bit more it could be amazing. Having said all that, it’s a touching, sweet film that will tap into your inner child if you let it.