Craig Roberts has made quite the name for himself since arriving on our screens in 2011 in Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. The actor has gone on to have several supporting roles in movies including a small role in Ayeode’s The Double and box office hit Neighbours. At the age of just 24 (he turns 25 this month) he has now written, directed and starred in his very own movie Just Jim.
The titular Jim, played by Edwards himself lives in a small Welsh town and is well, a bit of a loner. Naturally he gets bullied at school and his best friend soon begins dating his crush. It’s fair to see he’s not dealing with adolescence too well. All this starts to change though when he meets his new American neighbour Dean played by Emile Hirsch. If the name didn’t give it away Hirsch is channeling his inner James Dean for the role. He is everything Jim isn’t- charismatic, handsome (Jim is a solid 4) and mysterious. Dean starts mentoring Jim in his ways, that is until Dean’s more sinister side begins to get involved.
Edwards has always had something of a unique presence on screen and he has somehow managed to transfer that to his movie. Just Jim is wickedly funny and at times frighteningly surreal. He has undoubtedly learnt from Ayaode during their time together but he has also managed to put his own stamp on the movie. The young director is clearly a cine-literate one with the movie references several other directors and also echoing 1950’s teen dramas.
It also has a very unique sense of place. Anybody who has ever spent time in a small Welsh town will know there is a very unique feel to them, something both charming and unsettling and he has managed to capture this on screen perfectly. The film manages to capture the alienation of being young perfectly whilst Hirsch is delightful as Dean.
Just Jim is one of last year’s most underseen movies. A delightfully surreal affair that will make you both laugh and squirm in equal measure.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Just Jim is available on DVD now