Rocket Science

Indie underdog yarn that manages to feel fresh

Trending Now

Ways to keep reading Uncut during lockdown

Even if you can't leave the house, there's no need to miss an issue

Bob Marley: “He sent messages to the world”

A legend in exile: Uncut explores Marley's momentous year in London

Watch Itasca’s exclusive Uncut session

Filmed outside her home near Joshua Tree, California

Dir: Jeffrey Blitz | St: Reece Thompson

If you’ve been following recent US indie cinema, [i]Rocket Science[/i] may seem a little familiar. The story of a teen outsider with a small but, in his high-school world, debilitating affliction (a stammer) it uses all the ammo in the [b]Sundance[/b] movie armoury – separated parents, weird stepbrothers, barking neighbours – to create yet another white-picket survivalist fable, scored with the obligatory alt.rock soundtrack ([b]Broken Social Scene[/b] and [b]The Violent Femmes[/b] do the honours).

But in much the same way that [i]Little Miss Sunshine[/i] gathered up all the available indie tropes and boiled them down to an accessible, near-[b]Oscar[/b]-winning package, so [b]Jeffrey Blitz[/b]’s debut creates something affecting and original out of such seemingly well-worn material. Central to its success is the artless [b]Reece Thompson[/b] as Hal Hefner, the dweeb inducted into the school debating team by the not-as-philanthropic-as-she-seems Ginny Ryerson ([b]Anna Kendrick[/b]), and his attempts, not always successful, to regain his dignity.

Although the film builds to a kind of [i]Rocky[/i]-style showdown, [b]Blitz[/b] doesn’t follow the usual route for the standard underdog movie. Where other indies trumpet an idealistic right-will-prevail philosophy, [b]Blitz[/b] is brave enough to wonder if it won’t, and the gamble pays off in this warm, funny comedy’s poignant last moments.



Latest Issue

Bob Marley, Marc Bolan, John Prine, Courtney Marie Andrews, Joy Division, Joan As Police Woman, Irmin Schmidt, Paul Weller and Captain Beefheart