“Son of Rambow” is a quaint, muted film about an emerging friendship and self-discovery. It’s about a collision between Carter, a rather cute, punk-faced bully, and Will, a schoolmate who abandons the strict dictates of his puritanical upbringing after he sees a pirated version of Sylvester Stallone’s “First Blood.”
Written and directed by Garth Jennings, who gave us “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “Son of Rambow” shows us what happens when Carter persuades Will to help him shoot their own version of a Rambo movie with a VHS camcorder.
We are in the 1980s and for Will, who has kept his creative dreams in a secluded notebook, this is a breakout move that will eventually separate him from the sect of the Puritan Brethren — for this is a kid who is not allowed to see any kind of movie, even an innocent documentary that teachers routinely show in classrooms.
Eventually, Will and Carter will catch the attention of classmates who help them make their film, but not before both boys endure problems at home. What both kids have in common is lack of a father or father figure. Will has the uptight minister-friend of his mother, while Carter has a big brother. Now, Will and Carter have each other and the joy of creativity.
Drama falls flat
Jennings has a nice way of evoking a mood, but in detailing the path and growth of his two protagonists, he does not create the kind of burgeoning excitement we get from a “Billy Elliot.” In his determination not to cave into adolescent high jinks, the writer-director achieves a drama that is often flat.
It’s a movie of quaint, subtle touches, and for any of us who have made friends during a creative adolescent venture, the story will be instantly recognizable. That is the film’s strength, as are the performances of young stars Bill Milner and Will Poulter. Watching “Son of Rambow” can be a pleasant experience. It is also one that is less remarkable than its catchy title.
‘Son of Rambow’
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Garth Jennings
STARRING Bill Milner, Will Poulter, Jules Sitruk, Jessica Stevenson and Neil Dudgeon
RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes
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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts