Indie British film "Submarine" gains U.S. buzz

Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:06pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It may be in a different league to U.S. summer blockbusters like "Green Lantern" and "X-Men: First Class" but a small British indie film has impressed US critics and hopes to parlay its praise into bigger audiences.

"Submarine," which is opening in U.S. cities throughout June, is the quirky, coming-of-age tale of 15-year-old Oliver Tate as he loses his virginity and deals with his parents' marriage.

Produced by Ben Stiller, co-starring Sally Hawkins and set in Wales, the film has an 86 per cent approval rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes, which collates critics reactions.

Director Richard Ayoade, 34, an English actor and comedian known in Britain for his role in "The IT Crowd" TV comedy, spoke with Reuters about his directorial debut and how the film attracted the likes of Stiller and Alex Turner of "Arctic Monkeys."

Q. What did you love so much about the story, adapted from the novel of the same name?

A. "The main thing is the character of Oliver Tate and his voice. It felt like quite an original character -- one who is well aware of all of the tropes and cliches of coming-of-age dramas and seeks to circumvent them by his knowledge of the world...And who felt that he would live a more considered and better life than everyone else, because he has somehow mastered it. But that didn't really translate into reality."

Q. What other coming-of-age tales were you inspired by?

A. "I like John Hughes films, I liked 'Dawson's Creek', 'The Graduate' and 'The 400 Blows' and all the French new wave films like 'Billy Liar' or Eric Rohmer films that often have a coming of age element. Or in books, JD Salinger stuff or 'Huckleberry Finn'."   Continued...