Son of Rambow Garth Jennings

Son of Rambow Garth Jennings
Very few movies about childhood accurately capture what it’s like to be a child. Sure, there are plenty of films with kids but they’re normally just used as cute puppy dog props that rarely behave realistically. Fortunately, Son Of Rambow breaks this trend. Not only are the lead actors (Bill Milner and Will Pouter) natural and talented performers but the movie itself captures the freedom of imagination and boundless energy that define childhood. Taken at mere plot description (two young boys remake First Blood), the movie sounds like a simple parody of DIY filmmaking and bad action movies but it’s actually a surprisingly complex examination of childhood friendships and creativity wrapped in a funny and touching façade. Writer/director Garth Jennings based the film on his early experiments with VHS filmmaking and it shows — an action film he made at 12 is included on the DVD. While there are plenty of hilarious set pieces involving the kids performing unrealistically dangerous stunts, the film is always grounded in reality. All of the teen slang and ’80s pop culture references have been specifically chosen to recreate a lost time and place, not to merely appeal to hipster nostalgia. Jennings’ comments on the insightful DVD documentary and audio commentary make it quite clear how personal this project was. The fact that he was able to translate such specific memories into a broadly entertaining comedy is quite an achievement. Jennings creates visually stunning sequences set in the imaginations of his characters and perfectly recreates the aesthetic of child filmmaking, but perhaps his most impressive achievement is the relationship between his two protagonists. The movie subtly crafts a burgeoning childhood friendship that is touchingly familiar. Granted, Jennings resorts to melodrama to wrap up his plot in 90 minutes but it’s hardly enough to kill the movie. Between this film, the surprisingly good Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and their wealth of amazing music videos (including Blur’s "Coffee And TV”), Garth Jennings and partner Nick Goldsmith (collectively known as Hammer And Tongs) have to be considered amongst the finest filmmakers in Britain today. It’s about time they got their own "complete works” music video DVD complication. (Paramount Vantage)