Oh man, you guys, I just got done watching Son Of Rambow and it was amazing! I had heard good things and figured that I would love a movie based on kids making a movie in 80s England, but didn’t think I would like it this much.
The idea is that a Will, super-sheltered kid from a religious family, and Lee, a tough kid, become friends. The tough kid is working on a movie for a young filmmaker contest and ropes the other kid in. Meanwhile, a group of French exchange students show up and one in particular, a boy named Didier starts getting quite a following. Eventually, the two groups meet and combine, which causes tension between Will and Lee. It’s brilliant how this movie mimics the rise and fall of stardom on a scale as small as a school, while also parodying going from indie film makers to working with a huge crew and a pampered star. Instead of drugs and alcohol, the parties are filled with smelly erasers, rub on tattoos and tons of neon.
There are several elements of the movie that I want to talk about separately. First off, there’s a scene early on where Will’s hiding in Lee’s house while a bootleg of First Blood and it just completely blows his mind with its awesomness. He’s part of a religion called The Brethren (not sure what that is, but all the women wear bandannas on their heads) and therefor not allowed to watch TV, so he’s never been exposed to something like this. The next thing you know he’s running through some fields making gun fire sounds and punching scarecrows. The way that writer and director Garth Jennings (who also did Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) captures the youthful energy and that kind of experience is really fantastic and, the actor playing Will (Bill Milner) just murders the part all around.
I’ve also got to mention the artistic elements of the movie. Will loves to draw and does so on everything, including a giant book that he draws over as a kind of journal or sketchbook. It’s the kind of drawings that all kids do, but to the Nth degree with tons of color, monsters, ninjas and explosions. The book ends up being a big influence on the movie, taking elements like a flying dog and metal menaces. But, after Will has his nearly religious experience with First Blood, the world morphs into an amalgam of the real world, an action movie and his drawings with CGI elements done in the exact same style as his art. It reminded me of some of my favorite parts of (500) Days Of Summer.
In the real world, there’s plenty of fun as well, especially early on when Will, fueled by Stallone does crazy stunt after crazy stunt for Lee’s movie. There isn’t really any story yet, but he does things like getting thrown over a shack off of a teeter totter, riding down a giant hill on a tray, swinging off a rope into a river and getting blasted off a ladder thanks to a field sprinkler. These are the kinds of things I used to do with my friends in the woods across the street from my house, though without any cameras rolling. So, not only does the movie capture a few memories from my childhood, but it also makes me want to make a movie. These kids look like they’re having so much fun just doing whatever. Who cares if a flying dog on a kite looks stupid? It’s fun to shoot!
What are you waiting for? Go watch Son Of Rambow! Unless, of course, you saw it over the three or so years it’s been out, then let me know what you think!