The film is built around the meeting and unlikely friendship between the school’s trouble child Lee Carter (Will Poulter) and outsider Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner), a member of the strict religous sect, the Plymouth Brethren.
Although an unlikely pair, the two are brought together by the Lee Carter’s bootleg tape of First Blood which inspires the two to create an entry in a local filmmaking contest for Screen Test featuring the adventures of the son of the famous Rambo.
The story, and the friendship of the pair, is complicated by their vastly different lives and the arrival of a instantly popular foreign exchange student (Jules Sitruk) who brings his own ideas, and his large following, onto the project.
For a film about adolescent adventure it works quite well. Milner’s character is put in the middle of a dilemma of helping out his new friend (in a project he loves) but staying true to the beliefs and duties to both his family and religion.
Most of the film’s magic moments come in the creation of the pair’s film, and how that project brings everyone together. Mixed in is the artwork and imagination of Milner’s character, which reminded me of a Michel Gondry film. However it’s the spirit of the film itself, and the enjoyment the characters find in creating something of their own, more than a specific performance or moment, which makes this memorable and worthy of attention.
Son of Rambow isn’t a great film, but it is a nice ride. I’m not quite sure who the film is aimed at, however. Younger viewers probably won’t know who Rambo is, and most Rambo fans may dismiss it as too cute. That just leaves indie film fans not willing to be put off by a film inspired by what has become a big Hollywood franchise. You’ll likely have to search the local art houses for this one, but if you’re lucky enough to find it, and in the mood for something different, then you should have a good time.