2015 has been a particularly sterile year for the British Film Industry. Despite the amount of films being made in this country, they typically have turned out to be bland, predicable and lacking in imagination. In simplistic terms, there’s a distinct lack of ambition and courage, producing often dour, insipid snoozefests or infant school level comedies. Thankfully, there are always exceptions to the rule and Craig Roberts’ Just Jim shows what can be done with a low budget and with a bit of imagination.
Jim (Roberts) is a lonely Welsh teenager who is bullied by the cool kids at school and can only dream of romance. His only solace is watching old films until Dean (Emile Hirch), a mysterious American, moves in next door. He takes Jim under his wing and sets about turning him into a popular kid, but his methods are unusual to say the least. Whilst Jim is initially pleased with his new status he becomes increasingly perturbed by the way Dean is insinuating himself into his parents’ lives.
Just Jim is Roberts’ first directorial foray, and whilst it’s by no means perfect, it’s an impressive début. As an actor he’s probably best known for playing the lead in Richard Ayoade’s Submarine and Just Jim shares many of the same nuances. It’s a cracking dark comedy and surreal drama which merges Jim’s love of cinema with the more pressing elements of his prosaic live. Just Jim is a small gem of British cinema and marks Roberts as a director to watch.
Just Jim is released on DVD by Soda Pictures on Monday.