‘The key is to be mysterious…’
I love Craig Roberts. Despite being primarily known for his stunning turn in Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, I’ve loved everything else he has done along the way too. His golf comedy Red Oaks is vastly underrated. I loved The Fundamentals of Caring (a film that features Roberts AND Paul Rudd). I just bloody well love him. The prospect of a film written and directed by my man Robbo was too much to resist…
Jim is unhappy (Craig Roberts). The pink haired siren at his school ignores him. The other students bully him. His dog is missing. Times are hard. Life begins to change for Jim when brash, American, Dean (Emile Hirsch) smashes his way into Jim’s life.
Just Jim is not a million miles away from Submarine, but the decision to film in Roberts’ hometown ensures this feels much more personal. The movies of John Hughes were namechecked throughout production, and Just Jim shares the innocence of those films, albeit in a way that is much darker, even avant garde in places.
Elsewhere, Emile Hirsch is pretty revelatory throughout. He’s intimidating, cool and hilarious in equal measure, and he plays off Roberts wonderfully in what had the potential to be a terminally off kilter pairing.
Roberts’ directorial debut will not be for everyone, but for those who have followed the career of the Welsh actor, Just Jim is pretty darn essential.