It’s not very often that when I am out with someone that we pick the film at the last minute, and I will admit that I do really enjoy my blockbusters in the cinema. But, that is exactly what happened when we came to watch A Street Cat Named Bob. The story of a former drug-addict whose life gets entwined with a ginger cat he finds in his home may not sound like a hit, but it works very well.
The film starts with James Bowen (played superbly and brutally by Luke Treadaway) as he is living rough on the streets. After being written off by so many people, James is finally a chance when his support worker Val helps get him a home and helps to ensure he goes through the recovery program for his addiction. James is a musician; he spends his time busking to make a small bit of money to feed himself. One day, he finds a cat in his home, who he is instantly fascinated by. Belle, one of his neighbours, says the cat wants to be called Bob and that he chose to be with James. Bob starts following James around, even coming with him to Covent Garden when busking.
Suddenly, James sees a change in fortune. While out with Bob, he attracts a lot more attention. Bob loves to sit on James’s shoulders or on his guitar as he performs to the crowd. The bond between James and Bob grows exponentially throughout the movie. James finds a new purpose in life as he looks after his new friend and does all he can for him. Whether it is using his last few pence to buy cat food instead of a meal for himself, or gaining the courage to go see his estranged father.
I recommend this film to all. There are a few scenes that will be a bit tough to watch, especially when James goes cold turkey from the methadone and you see him in agony as he tries to get it out of his system. But, even with the more upsetting scenes, ultimately this film succeeds as being heart-warming and quite life-affirming too. Ok, how many times have we seen these stories based on real life events given the big screen treatment? Probably too many times. But this story does just feel special and uplifting. Also, finding out that Charlie Fink (lead singer for Noah and the Whale) wrote the songs for the movie was definitely a big positive for me. Also, would you believe the director (Roger Spottiswoode) also made Tomorrow Never Dies and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot? Me neither! Also, Bob the cat in the film is mostly played by the real Bob. This does work on a lot of levels, and he seems to take to Luke Treadaway superbly. Also, I have to highlight the fantastic acting from Anthony Head as James’s dad and Ruta Gedmintas as his neighbour/love interest (actually his real-life girlfriend. May explain the strength in their chemistry).
A splendid British Film which will leave you feeling better about yourself. Also, chances are you know this story from reading the book by James Bowen…but I can’t recommend the film more. Also, Oscar nomination for Bob the cat?
Final rating: 9/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove