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A son to be proud of

PUBLISHED: 16:38 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 17:10 16 August 2010

RAM BUSTERS: Bill Milne and Will Poulter get ready for war in Son of Rambow.

RAM BUSTERS: Bill Milne and Will Poulter get ready for war in Son of Rambow.

Son of Rambow Cert 12A PRODUCTION duo Hammer and Tongs, or Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith as their mothers call them,

Son of Rambow

Cert 12A

PRODUCTION duo Hammer and Tongs, or Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith as their mothers call them, made the transition from making whimsically inventive music videos to feature films with their hit-and-miss take on Douglas Adams' much-loved cult novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in 2005.

For their second feature, a coming-of-age tale centred around the relationship between two 11-year-old boys, they have produced something much lower key and altogether more successful.

Will (Bill Milne) lives with his puritanical, religious family who forbid him from watching TV, so he spends most of his time day-dreaming and doodling in his exercise books. Lee (Will Poulter) is an irrepressible troublemaker who is essentially looking for something to channel his limitless energy into.

After a chance meeting in the school hallways, Lee invites Will to his home and shows him a scratchy pirate copy of Sylvester Stallone's First Blood that he has been hawking in the playground in his garage. The film makes sets of explosions in the idealistic young boy's mind and together the two embark on making a home movie for a young filmmaker's contest. Will quickly becomes obsessed with his role as Son of Rambow and is soon diving around the woods in combat make-up and a headband.

The boy's fun is interrupted with the arrival of Didier (Jules Sitruk), a French exchange student, whose new romantic stylings and Gaelic posing send waves through the school. Didier wants to star in the film and while Will is all for it, Lee sees it as an end to all of their fun and a hijacking of their movie.

There are some interesting visual elements throughout as images taken from Will's charmingly imaginative drawings periodically flicker across the screen but the film's true strength lies in the excellent performances from the leads. The quality of the acting makes it easy to get drawn into the boy's innocent world of unbridled imagination and fun and the movie-making scenes filmed in the woods make you wonder why kids don't play outside anymore.

Touching, funny and refreshingly devoid of cynicism, Son of Rambow is joyous, nostalgic ode to friendship and the innocence of childhood.

* Son of Rambow opens in cinemas on April 4.

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