Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Son of Rambow on DVD August 26th

A charming ode to childhood imagination and friendship, Son of Rambow is the whimsical reminiscence of writer/director Garth Jennings. Jennings took his own childhood experiences--the old "Let's put on a show!" motto updated for the video age--and created the story of Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) and Lee Carter (Will Poulter) and their attempts to make a movie inspired by Sylvester Stallone's Rambo.

Will and Lee are most definitely an odd couple. Will, a member of the Plymouth Brethen, is reserved and meek and not allowed to watch television. Lee, on the other hand, is rebellious and bossy and without parental guidance. When Will catches a glimpse of Lee's pirated copy of First Blood, his natural creativity is unleashed in a big (like Stallone on steroids) way. He imagines himself, all 70-some lbs., as an action hero. And Lee is only too happy to capture it all on tape.

Jennings does a nice job of illuminating Will's imagination and capturing the essence of the unbridled creativity of children--creativity which conjures up evil scarecrows and flying dogs and the sort of stunts that would make anyone's Mum cringe in horror. Milner and Poulter are newcomers, but that only adds to the freshness and genuineness of their performances. The film also features Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick as Lee Carter's older brother Lawrence. Westwick doesn't do much more than look pretty which, admittedly, he does very well. The story meanders along with subplots involving an overbearing Brethren elder and a "too cool for school" French exchange student but overall the movie belongs to Milner and Poulter--and it is at its best when it focuses on their Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn-esque (or perhaps more fitting would be "Oliver/Artful Dodger") relationship and the capers surrounding the filming of their "epic."

The DVD contains commentary by Jennings, producer Nick Goldsmith and the two young leads, as well as Boys Will Be Boys, the "making of" featurette. The best extras, however, are two amateur short films which capture the essence of what Jennings was attempting to convey in his film. The first is Aron, Jennings own work circa 1986 (he was fourteen!). Complete with credit roll via a long sheet of computer paper (indicating it was "divised [sic] and directed by Garth Jennings") along with action sequences inspired by Stallone, Aron shows the genesis of Jennings film career as well as Will and Lee's story.

Also included is the winning entry from the Son of Rambow short film contest, which launched during the film's theatrical run on SonOfRambow.com and challenged filmmakers to create their own short film. The competition was judged by Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith, who selected the winner--in this case Mission Improbable, an Alias-type action-thriller created by the Dunn family.

Set in the 80s, during the advent of portable video cameras, the film features music from The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, NuShooz, Duran Duran, Gary Numan and Blondie as well as an original score by Jody Talbot. The DVD is available exclusively at Best Buy so if you're looking for a sweet and endearing movie about friendship, loyalty and the power of play, Son of Rambow offers all that and more.


  1. Yay, I'm getting this from Netflix in a couple of days! I've heard lots of good things about it. Thanks for the heads-up on the extras, I'll be sure to watch them.

  2. It's a sweet little movie. I cried at the end.

  3. I love sweet little British movies. It's one of my favorite genres!