A number of months ago Michel Gondry’s movie Be Kind Rewind gave us two characters who made their own versions of movies after they accidentally erased an entire video store worth of tapes. They made their crazy versions of films like Ghostbusters and When We Were Kings because they needed something to rent to their customers. It was a funny, touching film, but for my money a small British film about two kids who bond over their remake First Blood is more effective because the kids redo the movie because they want to, not because they have to. For the sheer love of the movies, give me Son of Rambow.
Set in a small English town during a summer school break in the early 1980s Son of Rambow is a coming of age story about two boys who bond over a shared enthusiasm for the first Rambo movie First Blood. Using a clunky video camera they learn life lessons as the making of their film becomes a metaphor for growing up.
Son of Rambow is an engaging, low key kid’s film that the whole family will enjoy. Aside from the appealingly unusual story the film’s main hook are the performances of the two young lead actors. Bill Milner as Will, an introvert being raised by his ultra-strict Plymouth Brethren mother and Will Poulter as wild child Lee both give natural performances without a hint of the precociousness that infects so many kid actors. Poulter in particular has a malleable face that seems to belong to a person much older than his ten or twelve years.
Son of Rambow is a deceptively simple look at the inner workings of the lives of complicated young boys that avoids the sentimentality that often mars films aimed at kids.