Son Of Rambow (2007)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
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Overall Rating 70%
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Ranked #2,557
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Will is looking for an escape from his family when he encounters Lee, the school bully. Armed with a video camera and a copy of Rambo, Lee plans to make his own action-packed video epic. --TMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: June 09, 2008
Thus far, 2008 has gone down as one of the worst years for film in recent memory. Normally, by this point, I have a Top Ten List ready to go for the first half of the year. I have not completed one yet because I haven't seen 10 films that could be placed on the list. Last year, for example, three of the films that made my final Top Ten List were films released from January to March. This year, my highest rated films have been "Iron Man" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" - so, that has to tell you something. Luckily for me, "Son of Rambow" expands that list a little further. A genuinely pleasant surprise, "Son of Rambow" is one of the most heartwarming and inspired pictures I have seen in a long while, evoking memories of films like "The Goonies" and even "Explorers". This was the type of film you would expect to see released in 1986, not 2008. It has the feel and tone of those old 1980's pictures, like "Explorers", and features some wonderful performances and some nice creative touches from director Garth Jennings. Watching it, I saw quite a few comparisons to the Danny Boyle film, "Millions", from a few years back. If I were placed on the spot to choose my favorite between the two, I'd probably go with "Son of Rambow", primarily because it deals with the love of film, expressed in very unique and magical ways.

The films opens at a movie theatre. Will (Bill Milner) is standing outside the theatre with his overly religious family, praying for the souls of those inside. Inside the theatre is Lee Carter (Will Poulter), who is watching "First Blood" and videotaping it for his brother, Lawrence (Ed Westwick). The next day, at school, Will and Lee cross paths, and Will is coaxed into helping Lee with a film he is preparing for a national competition. Lee soon discovers that Will has an idea of his own for the film, called "Son of Rambow". Most of the picture is Will and Lee making their movie and very much developing a friendship. Will tries to balance this with his home life, his family belonging to a very seclusive and very religious sect that shuns most of the outside world. Lee deals with his parents being away and his ass of a brother, who doesn't seem to really care what happens to him. As they make their film, they are aided along the way by some of their school mates, including the new French exchange student, Didier (Jules Sitruk) and his minion. After a brief falling out between Will and Lee, the film takes us back to the place where the picture began, the movie theatre.

There is something very magical about "Son of Rambow". Choosing to set the film in the 1980's was brilliant. The costumes, the music - everything works so well with the picture, and it only adds to the feeling that this film belongs in the 1980's. Director Garth Jennings, whose previous picture was "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", has created a very visual and creative piece that tries to utilize simple animation with sequences of childhood imagery. Some of this imagery gets very dark, at times, but primarily stays as lighthearted as possible. The score, provided by Joby Talbot, is one of the most inspired of the year, whimsical and upbeat with a sense of mischief to it. It was just nice to finally see a film released this year that held a creative spark. "Be Kind Rewind" just tried to hard to be creative. "Son of Rambow" tries very hard too, but it has the creativity bred in its bones from the onset. It isn't relying on a typical film device. "Son of Rambow" worked its charms on me and had me cheering and laughing and crying up until the final credits.

As for performance, the two leads here are rather exceptional. I don't know what it is with England, but they always produce the finest child actors. Bill Milner and Will Poulter have great chemistry together and carry the film entirely. Much like the kids in "Millions", these two have quite a lot of responsibility to shoulder for the picture and they carry it off beautifully. Ed Westwick is enjoyable in his role as Lee's older brother, Lawrence, also. It took me a few minutes to realize that this was the same guy from "Gossip Girl", but I finally clued myself in. The best scenes in the film are the scenes where Will and Lee are just making their movie. I especially enjoyed the scene the two boys become blood brothers - such a sweet and funny little scene and the two actors play it to well. A film like this could easily become too sappy or too sentimental, but just like the finest of British comedies, it maintains its comedic touch throughout. And I want to make a special note of the little revelation we get about Didier's character when he leaves. Very well done.

All of that said, I did have one problem with the film. I wish something else had been done with the whole religious sect that Will's family belonged to. It seemed almost out of place in the film and I didn't buy a lot of that. I wish they would have either changed that idea altogether or just gave us a little more insight into it, other than the bare essentials. But, that one gripe is not enough to strike any points away from the picture. "Son of Rambow" is officially my favorite film of 2008. I finally have one I can be 100% proud of mentioning. "Son of Rambow" gave me that feeling I always used to get when I'd watch "Stand By Me" or "The Goonies". It feels like one of those. It also helps that it involves two kids making a movie. The film is currently playing in limited release, so you can probably find it somewhere near you. I recommend you do.

Tristan #1: Tristan - added 06/09/2008, 07:37 PM
This movie looks adorable. I can't wait to check it out.
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added 06/09/2008, 09:05 PM
They showed the preview for this before Rambo, it does indeed look great. Good movie to jerk off to.
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