September 2nd, 2008

SON OF RAMBOW (2008) ****

Lee Carter (Will Poulter) is a rambunctious pre-teen troublemaker who makes bootleg copies of movies by filming them in the theater using his bullying older brother’s camcorder.  Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is a shy school kid with a strict religious mother who forbids him to watch television.  (Even the instructional videos they show at school are off limits.)  Their paths cross one day and when Will inadvertently watches Lee’s latest bootleg, First Blood; it sets off his previously sheltered imagination into overdrive.  Armed with no budget, but lots of moxey, the duo decides to make a sequel, Son of Rambow and they slowly become the best of friends. 


Son of Rambow proves that kids with camcorders can usually make better movies than Hollywood can.  The film actually reminded me a lot of my childhood.  Me and my friends would always get together in the backyard and make sequels to our favorite movies such as In the Line of Fire 2, Nightmare on Elm Street 8, Death Wish 6, and several Friday the 13th movies.  We never did a sequel to First Blood, but watching this movie kinda makes me wish we did. 


I may be more susceptible to the film’s charms than the casual viewer due to my extensive prepubescent filmmaking background, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that this is a great movie we’re talking about here, people.  While I could nitpick and say that the film was a tad full of unnecessary side characters, it totally worked for me.  Director Garth (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) Jennings perfectly balanced the laughs and the heartstring-pulling and crafted one of the best movies you’ll see this year.  Jennings is at his best though when he realizes Will’s rampant imagination.  These scenes are truly awesome and in one part, I actually jumped when Will encountered a scary monster; something I hadn’t done in a horror movie in a long time.  Speaking of something I hadn’t done in a while, I even got a little choked up at the end of this flick.  I can’t remember the last time that happened, but it may have been when E.T. died. 


Son of Rambow is the embodiment of both why we make movies and why we see them:  To have fun.  This is the movie Be Kind Rewind wanted to be. 


It’s not as good as the latest Rambo, but Son of Rambow has what it takes to shoot its way up to Number 6 on the Video Vacuum Top Ten List; sandwiched right in between Shine a Light and Wall-E.