Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Quick Word... On 'Submarine'

"It is Sunday morning.  I hear our dial-up modem playing bad jazz as my mother connects to the internet.  I am in the bathroom.  

I recently discovered that my mother has been typing the names of as-yet-uninvented mental conditions into Yahoo's search engine: 'delusion syndrome teenage', 'over-active imagination problem', 'holistic behavioural stabilisers'.

When you type 'delusion syndrome teenage' into Yahoo, the first page it offers you is to do with Cotard's Syndrome.  Cotard's Syndrome is a branch of autism where people believe they are dead.  The website features some choice quotes from victims of the disease.  For a while I was slipping these phrases into lulls in conversation at dinnertime when my mother asked about my day at school.
'My body has been replaced by a shell.'
'My internal organs are made of stone.'
'I have been dead for years.'"
This is the opening of the book I am reading at the moment - the phenomenally funny and interesting Submarine by Joe Dunhill.

I discovered the book because I had recently seen the film, which I wanted to get hold of purely because it was directed by Richard Ayoade, a famous British comedy actor who played Moss on The IT Crowd.  

In one week I watched Submarine three times.

I don't know what it is about this film.  For one it is spectacularly shot, it is funny, strange and unique.  More important though, is that I think it captures the side of adolescence that many people ignore - the experimental bizarreness of it, and the feeling of not knowing exactly what you're supposed to be doing, and trying to bluff your way through anyway.

I am loving the book, but the film still features some spectacular performances, and is my  favourite movie so far this year.  It is a film to watch and re-watch, full of subtlety and rapid-fire dialogue that deepens in meaning when it is revisited.  It is clever and incredibly touching, and I'm sure it will not be long before I return to it myself.

Watch Submarine. I really think you'll enjoy yourself.

Submarine is currently screening at the State Cinema in Hobart, and is out on DVD internationally.


  1. When can I see it ?

  2. I've watched the film but not yet read the book (I sadly didn't know it existed until the end credits), and I totally agree with you about adolescence being a bit of a blunder. The film was like experiencing my brain in someone else's body! Love it. :)