Director: Jon Drever
Staring: Brett Goldstein, Catherine Tate, Natalia Tena, Laura Haddock
Superbob is a film that is likely something of an acquired taste, a film that I think will be best enjoyed on home territory.
SuperBob started life as a short film in 2009 and has been a passion project for director Jon Drever and star, Brett Goldstein for the last six years. The premise of the film is simple, a former Peckham postman is struck by a meteorite and soon develops unnatural abilities; the power of flight, laser vision, super strength. Though not exactly an original idea, Superbob purposefully sheds the glamour of the Marvel Superhero films that have dominated the box office for the last half decade.
Bob is aided in day-to-day life by his faithful housekeeper Dorris (Natalia Tena), a strong woman who is not phased by Bob’s fantastical abilities. Dorris wants to see Bob happy and free of the constraints imposed on him by the government. Natalia Tena’s low-key performance is a highlight of the film, it’s clear to see by their on-screen relationship that she and Goldstein work well together. Similarly, Catherine Tate as Bob’s boss, Theresa, is a joy to watch. Tate walks a fine line between comedy and drama but never breaks the balance, for a comedy film like Superbob, one can imagine that it would be every easy to ham up the performance, it’s refreshing to a film where ‘normal people’ are the stars.
The film is shot as if it were a television documentary, a film crew follows Bob on his new occupation as a government-backed costumed hero, or civil servant as he is sometimes called. Goldstein, who charmed audiences with Derek, excels as the everyman superhero and it is hard to imagine anyone else in the role; the film may not have resonated so much if he was absent. Goldstein is also credited as a co-writer and for good reason, scenes flow very naturally and for a low-fantasy, the dramatic situations that Bob gets involved in feel very real and plausible. SuperBob is often very funny but not in the usual laugh-out-loud manner, apart from the odd visual gag, the film relies on absurd social faux-pas and from Bob’s inoffensive, passive manner being trampled upon by the many government agencies who take advantage of him. The film sometimes stumbles when it tries too hard with the awkward humour, some gags last too long in places, but they do not detract from the overall enjoyment of the film.
Despite being good-natured and humble, Superbob is a film that is likely something of an acquired taste, a film that I think will be best enjoyed on home territory, it’s not a classic by any means but a compelling watch nonetheless. The low-budget effects may turn off some viewers, but it really shouldn’t, Superbob is not a film about the spectacle of costumed heroes but more about the person when the cape comes off. For example, we are told at the start of the film that Bob has not a date in six years, a predicament, I imagine, doesn’t happen very often to the likes of Tony Stark.
Please support Superbob on video-on-demand and where you can find it. As a nation of film fans, we need to keep independent film alive in the United Kingdom.