Review of Craig Roberts’s Just Jim in the Current Issue of Aesthetica

The directorial debut from Craig Roberts bears many similarities to Submarine, the coming-of-age dram­edy by Richard Ayoade that bought Roberts acclaim as the main charac­ter, Oliver Tate. For a start, it is very Welsh. It’s also sprinkled with deadpan humour and small-town oddity throughout the script, which much like Sub­marine, revolves around a misfit teenager, Jim.

But here, rather than the girl-next-door type, it’s a psychopathic American heartthrob, new neighbour Dean (Emile Hirsch), who catches our lead’s eye. Following their late-night meeting, things take a turn for the surreal. We soon descend into thriller territory, spliced with elements of the film noir that Jim so adores. Though the lead up to all this feels a tad drawn out, Just Jim ultimately pulls off an unlikely feat – pairing both idiosyncratic styles and characters to great effect.

Richard Stoddard’s cinematography ices the cake with that timeless, semi-detached gloom that could be anywhere or anytime. If you’re expecting an Ayoade sequel, don’t. This, a debut overflowing with dark wit, style and honesty, is much better.

Grace Caffyn

Craig Roberts, Just Jim, out on DVD, Soda Pictures.

See more film reviews in the current issue of Aesthetica. Pick up a copy at www.aestheticamagazine.com.

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Credits
1. Still from Just Jim.