Son of Rambow

Starring Zofia Brokks, Neil Dudgeon and Tallulah Evans. Directed by Garth Jennings
Running Time: 95 mins
Rated: Rated PG (mild violence, themes and coarse language)
This is a very entertaining story of two young boys and their friendship - though it raises the perennial questions of how much movies influence behaviour, attitudes and desensitising because of violence.

This is the 1980s when First Blood was released, the first of the Stallone Rambo films. Lee Carter (Will Poulter) lives with his brother in a care home for the elderly. He has a video camera and we first see him pirating First Blood at the cinema. Meanwhile, Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) stands outside the cinema to read the Bible with other members of the Plymouth Brethren. A series of accidents and misbehaviour (not on Will's part) brings the two boys together, Lee being something of a con man, a shoplifter and a bully. Will is not even allowed to watch TV documentaries in class so, when he happens to see the pirated First Blood and learns that Lee is making his own film to enter in a BBC competition, his horizons open up considerably.

He is an imaginative sketcher and making a film about Rambow (he gets the spelling wrong) and a growing friendship with Lee becomes his preoccupation. In his imagination and in their film he becomes Son of Rambow with one of the elderly acting as his father (Eric Sykes in an enjoyable cameo). He has to escape his mother's vigilance and that of Brother Joshua of the Brethren. Complications arise when a group of French exchange students come to the school and a flamboyant boy, Didier (Jules Sitruk) who has everyone doing his beck and call wants to star in the film. Then everyone wants to be in it. Will becomes the celebrity and it goes to his head. Lee is on the outer.

Plenty of emotional complications for Will (whose father is dead) with warnings to his mother from the Brethren to correct him. He clashes with Lee. You know it is going to have a happy ending - but it is a nice one as well. The boys act very well indeed and, though you keep wondering about their aping of Rambo and Colonel Trautman and the action scenes, the stronger themes are those of honesty and friendship.

Paramount Out September 4

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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