Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanna Froggatt, Anthony Head, Beth Goddard, Darren Evans, Caroline Goodall, Ruth Sheen, Nina Wadia, Franc Ashman, Lorraine Ashbourne, Mark Behan, Daniel Fearn, Adam Riches, Nadine Marshall, John Henshaw.
It is a quirk that makes the British film industry such a magnificent beast at times, for every stunning spectacular that crowds the screen with its location, its effortless pandemonium like glee in producing stunt after stunt and the facility to host the filming of the big box office smash, that occasionally comes a film in which typifies the true spirit of film making, one that does not go down the route enjoyed by the likes of the insipid and distasteful, but is instead a story, a piece of living memory that could happen to any of us.
A Street Cat Named Bob is one of those great British films, not immediately one that might catch the attention of those seeking a film with a stirring and catchy name but one that is instead the absolute sum of all its parts, great acting, great directing, a storyline based in the often hard quarter of reality and above all, simple honest quality; there is no shortcut to happiness and fulfilment but A Street Cat Named Bob is one that captures the heart and refuses to let go.
The essence of a great film is one that is steeped in a life lived, no charlatan or snakeoil to be seen by a writer delving into absurd fiction to ground out reality, it is has to have the highs as well as the terrible unremitting blows unfairly dealt out by life and the terrible people who inhabit the shadows.
A Street Cat Named Bob is that great film of the year, one enhanced by the knowledge that the hero is a true man of heroic proportions, who turned his life around and gave something back, who cared, who saw the pit of desperation, saw others fall and pass on within its pull and to whom is framed perfectly by the actor portraying him.
Luke Treadaway plays James Bowen, a former heroin addict, a man to who has lost all meaning in life and in his character but who finds sanctuary in befriending something more vulnerable than himself and by doing so seeks redemption. It is a redemption that Mr. Treadaway offers with unrelenting passion and his on-screen relationship with his co-stars is simple, beautiful and enjoyable. With the indomitable Joanne Froggatt, the sensational Ruta Gedmintas and Anthony Head as James’ father all feeling the warmth and human emotion involved in the story, this is a film that pulls at the heartstrings over and over again.
British films always somehow manage to break hearts as well as the fabric of what can possibly be captured on film, this heart enlarging film is no different, a film of class, raw honesty and just the perfect amount of hope; A Street Cat Named Bob is to be seen for the sheer quality of story-telling within it open heart.
Ian D. Hall