Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Bob – as himself
Luke Treadaway – James Bowen
Ruta Gedmintas – Betty
Anthony Head – Nigel Bowen
Joanne Froggatt – Val (support worker)
I remember first seeing the poster for A Streetcat Named Bob on the London Underground. I remember cringing slightly, rolling my eyes. Shortly after this, I saw the trailer in the cinema – and genuinely cringed. It looked hideous, tacky. The type of emo bullshit that would please guitar-strummers everywhere with its overly relaxed portrayal of a freeloading homeless hippy.
I dislike stuff like this.
And I hate watching characters who although totally down on their luck, remain cringeworthingly arrogant and sarcastic at all times.
Oh, and I also dislike cats.
I was going to hate this movie.
…I loved this movie.
A Streetcat Named Bob appealed to me in every sense; the simple story, a nice use of filming locations and camerawork, witty one-liner’s and supportive backing cast, even Bob himself – just adorable.
I wanted to hate this movie but in complete reverse, I bloody loved it. It has a softer-than-marshmallow feel as it runs at a nice pace and avoids any boring-as-shit plot.
Cat lovers be warned – you’ll go all gooey for the movie’s entire duration; Bob himself is cuter than cute. Cuter than say, I dunno… Ryan Reynolds surrounded by giggling babies.
His little fluffy face omits an adorable feel to the character – be it crunched up or wide-eyed – and he is overall everything cat lovers love about cats.
I personally dislike cats. Every one I have ever encountered has been an irritant. Let’s face it:
Slink past you looking at you out the corner of their eyes, sneakily.
They turn up, out of blue on your lap, expecting to be fully petted, fed and fussed over, before pissing off again for 7 hours.
This process begins again. And repeats.
Cats have a yucky way of raising their tales for no reason, showing you their arseholes.
Cats bring no useful qualities to their owners, other than being fluffy figurines of comfort; I.E. something soft visitors and the kids can “aaah” over.
They claw and scratch like proper bitches (hence the infamous term, cat fight), which can leave scars on the skin.
They ensure 45% (estimate. Couldn’t be arsed to Google it) of Earth’s population consume a nice steady amount of antihistamines on a weekly or even daily basis.
Are loyal to their owner. What other animal comes pounding through the house wagging its tail when its owner returns home?
When the owner does return after a lengthy period away from the house, many dogs will leap up him or her and grace the person with licking (yucky, but shows how much they love you).
You can take a dog for a walk and let it run free in a park, whereas cats bugger off on their own on a daily basis anyway and are less fun.
The doorbell rings. Most dogs immediately start barking, or jump up at the front door / window with a stance which shows they are protecting their owner or the owner’s property.
A cat will probably run away at the speed of light.
Now, with that said…
Bob was fucking lovely. A lovely little pussy. And very entertaining to watch also. But his wonderfuly fluffy appearance wasn’t the only positive element in the movie. There was something so much more unique…
A Streetcat Named Bob contained a fantastic production element; some scenes played out in a first-person view: the cat himself. For example, one scene in James’s flat shows a little mouse exit a hole in the skirting board. And suddenly the standard camera angle hits the floor and becomes the world through the eyes of the mouse as he (or she) navigates its way around the wooden floor.
And then comes Bob. Whose immediate sights are also shown directly through his eyes. There’s a lot of tumbling and fast-moving bobbing but it works well, and the style adds an excellent dynamic to the movie by splitting the human / animal element.
I wasn’t expecting this at all, a movie I assumed would be a load of dull drug-abusing adult crap became almost animated in style when the viewer gets to see the world through a cat’s eyes.
Top marks here.
I want a Bob. Just watching this movie made me want to throw a load of Go-Cat at him.
And what the fuck was Caroline Goodall doing there?!
During a scene in Covent Garden where James is entertaining the public, a random woman strolls into frame. Caroline Goodall. She joins the crowd in applauding the shabby gentleman and his shoulder-dwelling puss – then offers roughly four to six words – and leaves the scene, never to be seen again.
It was one of the most random cameo things I have ever seen. I remember thinking her small part in The Dressmaker (2015) was random, but this was something else. It’s as though she’s trying to break back into Hollywood but the woman’s agent has stuck her on every backing extra casting roll in the world instead.
Random stuff indeed.
Unless they’re very special, like all movies I enjoy I have to disect the bad from the good too.
So what went wrong with A Streetcat Named Bob?..
If you’re craving an upbeat, chirpy piece of cinema – look away. This movie is as depressing as it can get at certain points. James as a character is lightly harrowing to watch; the story follows his desperate quest for a home and the trials he faces on his way there. At times, the actor stands there – red eyed – looking like Ozzy Osbourne on a crack comedown (and I’m not talking Sharon’s). Although his portrayal of a slowly recovering drug addict is well-acted and highly effective, Treadaway fills the screen with an icy and despondent mood.
And whether sat in a bath tub miserably hugging his knees, or positioned on the sofa in his new place surrounded by nothing but shitty decor and silence, the atmosphere is postively negative. Viewers who are known to drop the classic, “god, this is depressing” reaction during particular movies or television programmes should probably steer clear of A Streetcat Named Bob. Because what it boasts entertainment-wise, it certainly lacks in happiness.
Ruta Gedmintas who plays James’s love interest is just awful. The woman has to be one of the worst performers I’ve seen in a long time. There isn’t much about her which adds value to this movie at all; she is very plain and slightly irritating to watch. I did wonder where the bloody hell the producers found her (some sort of attic drama group in Covent Garden I shouldn’t imagine). I got the impression instantly she is some sort of sappy, over- enthusiastic vegan in real life too. But seriously – she is so far from an effective actress she makes Kim Kardashian look like the lead in Broadway’s Miss Saigon.
I wanted to hate A Streetcat Named Bob. I really did, it’s not my kind of story at all. Yet in complete reverse, I felt comforted by it. Enjoyed the familiarty of it, as I frequent the streets of Central London myself (in a non-rent boy way – obviously), and ended up omitting the classic “awwwww” sound throughout. In fact, so were 80% of the audience. They were loving it – clearly cat lovers – which I’m not and this is one of the reasons I was shocked the entire production won me over.
Very watchable stuff.