Adapted from the Joe Dunthorne book of the same name, Submarine (2011) is the maiden voyage of writer, actor and director Richard Ayoade into the deep and murky waters of British cinema. Perhaps best know for his role as Maurice Moss in the long running Channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd, Ayoade has actually enjoyed a prolific television career behind the camera as well, writing and directing a number of cult television shows like Garth Merenghi’s Dark Place and its subsequent spin-off Man to Man with Dean Lerner.
While the story might not sound like anything new, it doesn’t intend to be. The true focus of Ayoade’s lens is the characters, particularly Tate. Submarine is a deeply personal character study, probing delicately between the seams as it undresses the mundane events which will indelibly shape the people we become. From school bullies to first kisses; family separation to the loss of loved ones, Ayoade explores the difficult cocktail of emotions we must learn to control in our transition to adulthood, laying them quite bare to the audience.
Ayaode manages to capture the gloomy mundanity of these isles with an uncanny and yearning beauty. Rendering our dismal British landscape in ways that produce moving and provocative imagery, Ayoade truly embraces the language of cinema, constructing his narrative from ingenious visual metaphors and disquietingly familiar dialogue.