All hail Oliver Tate, antihero of Joe Dunthorne’s Submarine

13 Nov

You know what sucks? When one of your favourite books is made into a film and it doesn’t live up to your expectations. By logical thought processes you can therefore probably deduce what does not suck – an amazing film adaptation that almost matches the wonderment that was conjured up in your head when you first read the book. That’s the feeling I get when I watch Richard Ayoade’s adaptation of Joe Dunthorne’s Submarine.

Joe Dunthorne Submarine Richard Ayoade

If you’ve yet to read it (WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOURSELF!!), it’s the story of anti-hero Oliver Tate, a 15-year-old lad you will sometimes want to applaud and other times smack across the face. Like most boys his age, he’s desperate to lose his V plates. But he’s also determined to keep his family together, help his Dad get over depression and keep his mother out of the arms of an over-friendly old flame.

“Well, you know, I thought it would be nice to get some mutual interests… now that we’ve had sex… other than spitting and setting things on fire…” – Oliver Tate

The film adaptation doesn’t stick religiously to the book’s plot  (if, like me, you were gutted that Zoe’s revenge and other big storyline moments didn’t make it into the film, click here to read what Dunthorne has to say about it). But this time I’ll turn a blind eye, since everything else about the film is just awesome. The way it depicts Oliver’s coming-of-age story set in rainy Wales, through a semi-surreal instagram-esque series of dreamlike sequences, is just genius. And uber stylish (is it wrong to want Jordana’s heart sunglasses?!). It’s also bloody funny in that weirdy British way we do best (even with Ben Stiller as the film’s exec producer, amazingly enough). OH and did I mention that Arctic Monkey Alex Turner did the gloomy, odd-beat romantic soundtrack?! Yeaaaah.

So yes. In a mini-celebration of Submarine (and due to the fact it was on Film4 last night), here’s one of my favourite quotes from the most irritating and endlessly endearing character to cross my path since Holden Caulfield. If you haven’t read the book, do it now.

Oliver Tate, you charming nut-job. I salute you.

Dear Jordana,
Thank you for letting me explore your perfect body. I could drink your blood. You’re the only person I’ve allowed to be shrunk down to a microscopic size and swim inside me in a tiny submersible machine. We’ve lost our virginity but it wasn’t like losing anything. You’re too good for me. You’re too good for anyone. 
Sincerely, Oliver

Have you seen any credible film adaptations recently? Or are there any coming up soon that you’re looking forward to? Let me know.


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