The Red Right Hand

Make Believe. Not War.

Garth Jennings

Bill Milner
Will Poulter

Most boys grew up, having watched a film they shouldn't have and run around a wood playing 'army' with sticks; director Garth Jennings (of The Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy and the glorious Coffee & TV video) decided to write a screenplay taking this simple premise to a rather obvious conclusion. Unfortunately, despite the trailer portraying Son Of Rambow as a light-hearted endearing flick about kids (similar to Millions), this movie is just a little bit stale and soured by gaping flaws.

The plot focuses on two very different boys attending the same school in the early eighties. The first is the innocent, impressionable Will Proudfoot [Miner] and the second is the loud, out-spoken Lee Carter [Poulter]. For some reason, they become partners on a film project that Carter is working on. Will is a buttoned-down member of the extremely strict religious group, The Plymouth Brethren and on seeing a pirate copy of First Blood starts to question the nature of their beliefs (sort of) and experience childhood fun. Running along side this is the French exchange element. I went on a school exchange to Germany and the reactions were nothing like those depicted here. For some strange reason, one bizarrely dressed Frenchman, Didier [Jules Sitruk] starts to gather a loyal following of impressionable British kids. The only time the stories interweave is when Carter is suspended from school and the project becomes exceedingly popular under Will's direction. But in the end it's a tale of false friendship and the fickle nature of children.

The concept is very good and at certain moments there are genuinely endearing scenes but at the same time, the film's stagnant pace, inability to really hit a high note and general screenwriting indiscipline mars the movie. I also didn't particularly like any of the characters - the main child is an impressionable moron and the other is a bully. It's difficult watching these two befriend each other when they are clearly only out to serve their own purposes; Carter is trying to get his movie made and win a TV-based contest, while Will is trying to break out from his loner routine and experience everything he can. In addition to this, the religious undertones are dealt with in what seems the wrong way; by the end of the film the message seems to be that religion is for stoic losers and cool kids act stupidly. The film is certainly worth viewing and will pluck at the heart strings of many but I didn't think it was nearly as good as it could have been.

Release Date:
4th April 2008

The Scene To Look Out For:
The first shots of the finished film portray the young Will kicking open a door in an attempt to rescue a tied-up old man in a wig... supposedly portraying John Rambo. The sight was rewarded with a fairly decent reaction and is an obvious high point.

Notable Characters:
Brian Dennehy; that man's career cracks me up.

Highlighted Quote:
"I'm alright Lee Carter!"

In A Few Words:
"Entertaining but not as heart-warming or endearing as it should have been"

Total Score:

Matthew Stogdon