Son of Rambow is such a good idea, it could be nothing less than purely charming. It is a cast of mainly children, including one that is only now making his name in Hollywood, and takes its cue from a highly violent, very adult movie.
The idea of two children, one a disillusioned bully and the other a feeble kid stuck in a deeply religious household, deciding to make a low-budget sequel to Rambo is a weird but ingenious one. It brings with it some great laughs, very witty ideas and a sweet story under it all.
The actual delivery of the movie is very ambitious, with some great, very funny sequences. The idea of casting an old man in a retirement home as aging Rambo, improvised explosions or the inclusion of a dog-kite as a villain are all realised in very creative ways and clearly echo the Super 8 days of directors like Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg.
This isn’t without its own future stars. Bill Milner takes top billing and is great as the young, enthusiastic but slightly naïve Will. The real charm is in seeing his story progress and how he goes from a slight nobody to the star of his school, even roping in the scary 6th Formers and the strange exchange student to take part in his ambitious movie.
Will Poulter is only now carving out a real Hollywood career. Bill Milner is recognisable from X-Men: First Class for example, but Poulter is taking leading roles, alongside Jennifer Aniston in We’re the Millers or being one of the best aspects of the great Maze Runner. You can see that talent in this movie too, with him being a cocky, wise-cracking and street-wise bully who is just trying to get his brother’s recognition.
The movie does hold these overarching themes that come to fruition quite predictably. The overbearing religious family for Will or the lack of a stable family for Poulter’s Lee Carter. You can guess where the story is going to take these characters and some of the points play out as you’d expect. You can overlook this somewhat because of how good the two central stars are. This was made before “bromance” became recognisable but Milner and Poulter have that reluctant friendship down perfectly.
Overall, Son of Rambow is a charming, small British movie that packs lots of decent acting talent and a great, funny story. Its ambitious in it’s delivery and will be difficult not to enjoy, especially with the two central performances being so good. The slightly predictable story aside, a worthy sequel to Rambo: First Blood.
Rating – 4
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