Film No. 9 (2017) February 4th. 10.45 PM LUNA PALACE, Leederville.
"How many lives have you got? Apparently I'm on my ninth" (James discusses his predicament with his new co-pilot, Bob the Cat).
Let me say from the outset, I have not read the International Best Selling book of the same name. As the closing titles suggest, the book has turned into books (My Name is Bob and Bob to the Rescue) so the whole Bob phenomenon is bigger than big. This neatly packaged, feelgood film tells the story behind the phenomenon so much so that Bob plays himself. That's right, the actual cat who is credited with changing one man's life from drug addict to best-selling author.
James Bowen (Luke Treadaway) is an intelligent youngish man battling drug addiction. We meet him while he is on the methadone program so he's got folk who care for him, namely his GP Val (Joanne Froggatt) who both prescribes him medication and "batters down doors" to get him off the street and into a government subsidised flat. So while there's tension on our part, early on, as we will James away from temptation, Bob (Bob the Cat) appears on the kitchen window sill one morning and things start to change. Bob is the distraction which truly leads James from temptation, well Bob and Betty, (Ruta Gedmintas) his new neighbour.
If you are a cat lover then Bob is going to be worth the price of a ticket. Director Roger Spottiswoode even gives us Bob POV shots which I found distracting but let's face it, the film's star is a Ginger tabby so it wasn't surprising. In fact there is nothing very surprising about this feature. It is simply a feel-good bio. Author Bowen assisted with the script and the real-life Bob got the lead gig.
So why am I so luke-warm in my praise for A S C N B. Maybe it's because I love film more than I like plodding re-tells of interesting life changing events based on a book I've not read. The Lady in the Van was from the same cinematic stable with a whole lot less related youtube clips but it had a tone and quality I could better relate to. It's all about taste I suppose, but hey, I'm a dog lover. 7GUMS.