Published May 08, 2008Son of Rambow is one of those rare films that succeeds both as a film for kids, as well as an interesting film about kids. Using one childs imagination as a springboard, the film delivers moments of humour, excitement and sadness on a level children can enjoy while at the same time complementing the story with broad themes and interesting characters.
Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is a wildly imaginative young boy whose fantasies are constricted by a conservative British private school and a recently widowed, Plymouth Brethren mother (Spaceds Jessica Stevenson). Things change when Will becomes entangled with the school troublemaker, who exposes Will to a world hes been sheltered from, most alarmingly television.
A bootleg tape of First Blood ignites Wills imagination, eliciting elaborate daydreams and awakening a sense of wonder. Soon, the two boys begin production on their own "Rambow movie, in which Will is the heros son, adventuring in search of his father. The project is forced to remain secret as Wills changing behaviour begins to attract the suspicion of his familys "brethren.
Set during First Bloods initial release (1982), Son of Rambow is never aggressively nostalgic but does manage to find quaintness in ghetto blasters and top-loading VCRs. The direction is relatively laidback, leaving room for the two leads to sell the believability of their characters. The script, too, is simple but the themes build as the story progresses. At its core, the film is about the associative bonds people choose to cultivate, the ones they are forced to accept and the fragility of both.
One of the most appealing things about the film is the choice of Rambo as the object of the childrens admiration. Few films have the grounding and common sense to create a family film mentality while at the same time making the concession that young children enjoy ridiculously violent movies and, if anything, its good for them. (Paramount Vantage)