There is a popular phrase in show business which says “never work with animals or young children”. 2016 has certainly proved that film & TV makers should definitely be working with young children as there have been many outstanding child performances this year. More often than not though most animals featured in films are the product of impressive CGI, understandably so when the animal in question is a killer shark or a very angry grizzly bear, as we’ve seen this year. However there’s a lot more potential when the animal is a cute little ginger cat. So could ‘A Street Cat Named Bob‘ further contradict the popular saying?
The film, which is based on a wonderful true story that was made into a best selling book, can be slightly predictable at points. This doesn’t really matter though because the true nature of this story which is the foundation for the film only enhances the narrative. There is a good mix of hard hitting drama and more light-hearted comedy all with the first Christmas setting of the season giving of a subtle festive vibe. All these elements come together very well creating an endearing story and one that audiences will surely become very engaged with. Our main character James is a busker so we are also treated to much music throughout the film. I’m assuming that these are original songs as I haven’t heard anything quite like them before, they will have your toes tapping throughout the run time and you’ll be singing them back to yourself well after the credits role.
The performances go along way in helping to make the narrative so endearing. Supporting cast members such as Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head and Ruta Gedmintas do well in their roles providing a framework for the real stars of the movie; Luke Treadaway (James) and Bob the cat, who plays himself. Treadaway has a challenging role here as he plays recovering junkie James, this was the first time I had seen Treadaway in anything but I was very impressed. He was able to nail the drama and the comedy that was required from the narrative and he added a lot to the musical scenes too. Undoubtedly though it’s Bob who steals the show, I couldn’t quite get over how talented this cat is! Clearly props has to go to those off camera as well who had been training the cat as Bob was used so well and so much during the film that he is a fully fledged character of his own. The facial expressions and sequence of movements that he was able to create for the film continually added quality and the chemistry the pair had would make you think that Treadaway was playing himself rather than James Bowen.
‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ will already have won over much of its audience by simply including this cute little kitty but it’s much more than just an elongated cat video. The film gains its strength from the remarkable true story of which it is based on. With good writing, effective performances and the inclusion of some genuinely enjoyable music ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ should restore a bit of hope into the world we’re living in today.
Rating – 8/10
Question: What’s your favourite film featuring a real life animal performance?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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