Based on the bestselling book of the same name. A Street Cat Named Bob is about James (Luke Treadaway) a homeless busker recovering from drug addiction who befriends a stray cat that gives his life motivation.
Like Trainspotting and a CBBC special had a baby. The wildly veering tone is to the film’s detriment, going from scenes of heroin overdose to cat based antics in a heartbeat. It’s a strange mix and it sometimes doesn’t work but you’d be churlish to admit that there’s not some good stuff here.
Like the general public who only warm to James’s performance because he has a cat around his neck, in many ways, the thing you’ll take away from this film is that the cat is lovely.
Of course, the harder hitting themes and scenes of drug abuse are reasonably difficult to watch. Not I, Daniel Blake difficult but this isn’t that sort of film. It’s an inspirational film, like all the British feel good movies, it has hope to deliver but not before it does a by the numbers job getting there.
It may give you a warm buzz or it may you leave you wishing for some consistency. Scenes in which the lead struggles with coming off methadone are intercut with shots of the cat looking down at him. I don’t know if you know but cats don’t know how to act empathetic. It just looks like some youtube video where they cut in shots of a cat reacting to dramatic film moments.
Having said that you do feel marginally engaged in his story and you care slightly about the relationships with his friend Belle (Ruta Gedmintas) and father Nigel (Anthony Head) if only because they do a good job with the material.
In particular, I’m a big fan of Tony Head. Especially as Giles, his character in Buffy, is my favourite character of my favourite show. I’ll watch him in anything and the warmth the film had came, in part, from him.
Elsewhere, there’s nothing particularly original or exciting about the style or music, though Treadway performs some nice acoustic songs. But what it lacks in credibility it makes up for in a nice warmth that’s reminiscent, though nothing close to, the comforting picture of London portrayed in Paddington (2014).
No-one will remember it in their lists of the year but I can’t say I was ever cross or bored and when it showed it’s heart, I admit, I kind of went with it.