Submarine (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 11-Jan-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Coming-Of-Age Audio Commentary-Director, Author of Original Novel and DOP
Interviews-Cast & Crew-(24.38)
Music Video-Alex Turner - Piledriver Waltz (3.22)
Featurette-Through the Prism with Graham T Purvis
Interviews-Cast & Crew-LoCo Q&A (10.11)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Glasgow Q&A (11.43)
Featurette-Ben Stiller Message (2.32)
Deleted Scenes-(9.50)
Featurette-Extended Scenes (4.48)
Featurette-Test Shoot (3.52)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 96:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Ayoade

Madman Entertainment
Starring Noah Taylor
Paddy Considine
Craig Roberts
Yasmin Paige
Sally Hawkins
Darren Evans
Osian Cai Dulais
Lily McCann
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Andrew Hewitt

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Linear PCM 48/24 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Linear PCM 48/24 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† A coming of age story set in the 1980s in a Welsh seaside town. A teenage boy struggling to find his place at school, struggling to impress the girl of his dreams and struggling to keep his parentsí marriage together. It all sounds like a recipe for slightly twee, earnest but dull cinema. Fortunately, in the hands of first time feature director Richard Ayoade, with a script he adapted from a novel by Joe Dunthorne, the film is a quirky delight with laughs and moving moments in equal measure.

†††† Many will know Ayoade from his character of Moss in The IT Crowd. For the uninitiated, Moss is somewhat the equivalent of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory (minus the Ph.D.). He is intelligent but entirely impractical and with his own strange worldview.

†††† That strange worldview has crept over into Submarine which charts the teenage life of Oliver Tate played by young actor Craig Roberts. Interestingly, in one of the Q&A sessions which accompany this release, the director explained that he used Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver as a template for this film. A strange connection, and one that had the audience scratching their heads to work out if Ayoadewas pulling their collective legs. Not so. Like Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver Oliver Tate sees the world in his own way, as if he is the epicentre of the universe. Oliver thinks he is a pretty popular kid at school however he is regarded as a bit of a dork. He fancies his schoolmate Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige) who doesn't take much of an interest in him. In the movieís slightly askance worldview it is only when Oliver comes up trumps in a particular act of bullying against the "fat girl" in class that Jordana begins to take an interest in him. So begins a rocky relationship.

†††† Things aren't so great at home for Oliver. He measures the success of the marriage between his father (Noah Taylor) and his mother (Sally Hawkins) by the dimmer switch in their bedroom. His latest routine inspection has confirmed that the light has remained at full power for some time. The marriage is in crisis. Oliverís father is a depressed scientist who has devoted his life to the study of fish. He even hosted a TV education program on aquatic life which was cancelled. His life is now a permanent beige. His mother is bored with the sterility of their relationship. When an old flame, Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine), returns to the town reborn as a new-age motivational speaker Oliver is horrified to find that she may be rekindling the old relationship.

†††† Submarine is told in a fresh and blackly humorous manner. The object of Oliver's affection is not some winsome schoolgirl but a troubled young lass. Not only does she derive some excitement from the bullying but she is a dedicated pyromaniac with a deft skill at sarcasm. Coming to the door when Oliver's parents are out so that Oliver can lose his virginity, her opening words are classic: "Thank you for living at the top of a f**king hill!". The whole script bristles with sharply funny dialogue and a wonderful voice over from Oliver.

†††† Oliver is a good kid at heart but like many teens he is wilfully self-obsessed. The young actors Roberts and Paige are well directed and put in engaging performances. Paddy Considine is hilarious as the dim-witted new-age thinker, sporting a frightening mullet and talking about colours and prisms. As a threat to the Tate household he doesn't really get a lot of screen time but to present him as a fully rounded character may well have unbalanced the main narrative Taylor and Hawkins are superb as buttoned down Brits, keeping their feelings hidden away, yet expressing the deep sadness of a couple who have lost their connection and wonder whether they can ever reclaim it.

†††† Submarine is a very funny film with much of the humour coming in the voice-over and fantasy vignettes. Yet the drama is also there, making this film seem more weighty and lengthier than its trim 94 min. The film will appeal to those who like their British comedy a little on the dark side.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Submarine was shot on 35mm film and projected in the cinema at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. That ratio has been preserved for the Blu-ray release.

†††† The commentary track for the film includes the input of cinematographer Erik Wilson. Wilson is not exactly an effusive speaker. However, the commentary track does give some insight into the production. Wilson tried to keep the lighting fairly minimal to give it a naturalistic, unadorned look. That look has translated well into this transfer. It is sharp without being clinical. There is a light grain structure.

†††† The colours are fairly subdued with some exceptions, principally the red coat worn by Jordana. It was interesting to hear in the commentary track that it was only some time after the film was finished that the director made a connection between Jordana's red coat and the film Don't Look Now.

†††† The image quality of Submarine is clear throughout and there are no technical problems bar, strangely, one moment of markings on the print. These occur at 80:33, which is a dream sequence. Perhaps it was intentional, it is not discussed in the commentary track.

††††There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† The Blu-ray of Submarine carries four audio tracks. The prime track is a decent English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio and there is also a perfectly serviceable 2.0 stereo LPCM running at 1536 KP/S. There are also two tracks running in the same mode comprising a descriptive audio track and an audio commentary.

†††† All are quite well presented. Although he high-definition surround track is the most all-encompassing it must be said that the film does not present an extraordinary number of opportunities for either surround sound effects or action from the sub woofer.

†††† The score for the film is by Andrew Hewitt though many would be more interested in the fact that lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys Alex Turner contributes four songs to the film. Those expecting rousing indie pop may be disappointed as the songs are all ballads.

†††† The dialogue is clear and easy to understand and there are no technical problems with the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† There are a wealth of extras included with the Blu-ray.

Audio Commentary

†††† The audio commentary includes director Richard Ayoade, author of the original novel Joe Dunthorne and director of photography Erik Wilson. This is entertaining commentary track. Ayoade takes the lead and engages the others in discussions about the origin of the film and the production and filming difficulties. It is a fairly light commentary although those who see Ayoade as steeped in comedy tradition may be surprised to learn of the extent to which he idolises the French New Wave and used some of the techniques in Submarine.

Cast and crew Q&A's

†††† There are two Q&A's included, one at the London Comedy Festival and the other at the Glasgow Film Festival. Both are interesting and eminently watchable. It should be pointed out, however, that the first Q&A starts with Ayoade taking over the microphone prior to presentation of the film. It is shot using a single camera at the back of the auditorium and the dialogue, mainly monologue, is often difficult to hear. It then cuts to a standard interview. The second at Glasgow features the two young leads as well as Sally Hawkins and Joe Dunthorne. Ayoade is a commanding presence with a very quirky and irrepressible wit. These are the funniest Q&A's I have seen.

Through the Prism with Graeme T Purvis

†††† This is extended "interview" with the character as presented in the video Through the Prism. It is humorous and entertaining although the joke does run out after a while.

Cast and Crew Interviews

†††† All the main players are interviewed for a few minutes. Unfortunately, this is one of those disjointed presentations which features the question by way of an inter-title and then the interviewee giving the answer. There is no natural flow and the responses seemed somewhat stilted.

Ben Stiller Message

†††† Stiller was a producer on the film. He sent a video, in a fashion not dissimilar to his work in Extras, basically explaining to the cast the very good reasons why he didn't want to come to Wales for the filming.

Deleted Scenes

†††† A bunch of scenes are included . One is worth a look - a scene at a dinner party where Oliver's parents quietly destroy each other with sarcasm under the veil of politeness. Maybe it was a little too dark.

Extended Scenes

†††† Actually, this is pretty much one extended scene - a further burst of Purvis Power, explaining his theories on the how we all bloody use the power of colour.

Alex Turner's Piledriver Waltz Music Video

†††† The video for the song is comprised of mock Super 8 footage of Oliver and Jordana, from the film.

Test Shoot

†††† This scene is an extended version of Oliver and Jordana meeting up under the train bridge. Interesting, if only for the fact that she was sporting a completely different hair-do.


†††† Three skippable trailers appear at the load up - Attack the Block, Four Lions and Bunny & the Bull.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††This Blu-ray is identical to the Region B (UK) release. However, Region A gets the film on a single layer Blu-ray with the deleted and extended scenes but without the bulk of the extras. There is a 10 minute Making of but the short comments I have read suggest that this might be an EPK cribbed from the bits in the interviews.


†††† Submarine is a fresh and funny debut from comedian Richard Ayoade. It bodes well for his filmmaking career.

†††† The Blu-ray looks and sounds good although it never was a technical showpiece.

†††† The extras are interesting and comprehensive.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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