Here's a movie saddled with a two-headed marketing albatross: For the Blockbuster Crowd (BC), who is indifferent to (or despises) independent film--especially "foreign" independent film--it's indie and foreign. On the other hand, for IFFs (Indie Foreign Filmers), it boasts a title that reeks of "blockbuster." You can't win with a formula like that.
And yet, this movie does win. Big. And both crowds should see it. Here are two messages, customized for each audience.
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To the BCs:
You had to have liked "Stand by Me." Think of this as a sort of "Stand by Me," but with only two kids and no railroad tracks. Imagine a 10-year old who's never seen a movie or TV show in his life, and the first thing he ever sees is "First Blood," and he goes nuts. He wraps his school uniform tie around his head. He puts on war paint and attacks scarecrows. All the while, he and his trouble-making buddy set out to covertly produce their own movie called "Son of Rambow" (they misspell it because this is the '80s, and "Rambo" hasn't come out yet... that and maybe for legal reasons) to win an amateur film contest.
The movie is funny, imaginative, touching (especially if you have a crazy boy of your own). It brings back all of those ridiculous '80s memories, mostly with its soundtrack. And, to top it off, it makes fun of the French.
To the IFFs:
Ignore the title. This movie has nothing to do with "Rambo," okay? Not really, anyway. It's not a war movie. It's not a violent movie. It's not a testosterone-tinted car-chase-cacaphonic Surround-Sound-saturated super-sensory blitzkrieg meant to overstimulate you into commercial submission. It's a British film about friendship, family, belonging, and most of all, the struggle between imagination and the forces that try to quash it for no good reason.
The directing is lively without being indulgent. The acting (particularly from the two boys) is stellar. It's a serious movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. And it succeeds in delivering a genuine and sincere tug at the ol' heart strings.
* * *
Now get off your collective asses and see the movie. Here's the information for Minneapolis.
Yes, BCs, you'll have to venture to the terrifying confines of The Lagoon. It's okay, there's Tex Mex nearby and no one will think you're gay if you throw out the "Stand by Me" line. IFFs, don't worry that your friends will think you've gone Rumsfeld... just say "British" and "coming of age" when you describe it.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Posted by Marc Conklin at 8:59 AM