Son of Rambow (2007)

Comedy, England

Director and Writer: Garth Jennings

Starring: Bill Milner, Will Poulter

In 1982, Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) suffers from being in a family that follows the Amish-Lite-like Plymouth Brethren religion but for some reason goes to public school in Britain.  One day as he waits out in the hall, because his cult prevents him from watching TV, he runs into the worst behaved boy in school, Lee Carter (Will Poulter). Expectedly, Lee bullies him and when he tries to grab the book wherein Will draws his fantasies. They knock over a huge goldfish bowl.  While waiting for the school disciplinarian to see them, Lee tells Will he’ll take the rap for the whole thing if he can have the watch he’s wearing, which was Will’s dead father’s.  At first Will refuses but when Lee explains that the punishment is physical torture, the meek boy gives up the watch and takes off.  So does Lee.

Later, Will sees Lee in the schoolyard and Lee goes into his tortured routine that gains the sympathy of Will who helps him home.  While at Lee’s place, a nursing home where his older brother barely takes care of him in lieu of his mother who galavants around Spain with the home’s owner.  Actually Lee’s brother treats him like a servant and Lee has Will hide when his brother and his goony pals show up in the store room where Lee makes copies of bootleg videos he sells.  When he goes to tend to his brother, Lee leaves Will alone in the room to watch a bootleg copy of First Blood, the first of a trilogy of films starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam vet, John Rambo.  Will becomes quite taken by the film and creates an idea for his own action film called Son of Rambow where he must fight an evil scarecrow and a flying dog to save his father, Rambo.  As it happens, Lee desired to enter a young makers film contest called Screen Test and made Will his stuntman.  Will pitches the idea to Lee and he likes it.  Of course he’ll do it under the condition that he gets all the prize money when they win.

I can’t think of one bad thing to say about Son of Rambow.  Don’t let the fact that the movie is about eleven year olds scare you, this is not a kids movie.  I don’t think parents would want their kids to see little Lee Carter smoking a cigarette and bootlegging a film in the opening scene.  It also manages to have a lot of heart, to the point where several scenes got me misty-eyed but don’t let that make you think this film is saccarin because it’s not.  All that considered the film is not short on comedy, which is brilliant.

Will Poulter kind of looks like an eleven year old James Dean or James Coburn.  What’s so unique about his kid scoundrel character is that he’s actually cool, like for reals cool, like his aforementioned actor look alikes.  Films don’t come up short with kid scoundrels but none of them have the swagger this kid does.  Fortunately, Bill Milner plays Will Proudfoot so quirky that he doesn’t drown in Poulter’s brilliance.  Proudfoot also has the potential to be annoying but he’s played just right so that he’s meek but not too weak and he’s quirky but not over the top like Jim Carey or some shit.

That’s just the main characters, I could go on for paragraphs about how every single character in this film is brilliant and absolutly relevant to the film, which is how it is altogether, not a single frame of celluloid is wasted.  From the film’s serious side with the conflicts that arise from Will’s religion to the physical comedy action of their film this one must be seen.

3 thoughts on “Son of Rambow (2007)”

  1. I just didn’t see what you clearly saw in this film. I saw the trailer and thought it looked really sweet, but I just found it incredibly boring and wish I hadn’t wasted my time. Also, I’d like to point out that I’m fairly sure Will went to a private school. It certainly didn’t seem like a public school, and I can’t imagine many Amish in public schooling.

  2. That was a private school? Oh my mistake. I must have missed that. Thanks for your input, I’d like to think my review explains why I like this film, but if there’s anything I could clarify for you please ask.

  3. Thanks, it’s not your review wasn’t clear, it just must have been not my type of film, which is a shame because I can usually appreciate most films in some way, and judging by the trailer I’d expected to really like this.

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