A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

★★

SANITISED TRUTH

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
5th February 2017

These days, anyone can technically make a movie. Money is no longer a defining factor when it comes to filmmaking - however, it also depends on what kind of film you want to make. Do you want to spend your money on quality actors, effects, locations, equipment? Every now and then, you come across a very middle-of-the-road production where everyone is given an equal share, resulting in no one standing out and nothing being great - or bad for that matter - it simply is what it is. Meet ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’, or as I like to think of it: the film you show your kids when you want to teach them about heroin addiction. Kind of like hiding vegetables in their food. They’re so distracted by the yummy sausages (or in this case, a cat) they won’t realise what they’re eating.

SWITCH: 'A STREET CAT NAMED BOB' TRAILER

James (Luke Treadway, ‘Unbroken’) is a homeless busker in London struggling to stay off heroin and on the methadone program. Seeing something special in him, James’ caseworker Val (Joanne Froggatt, ‘Downton Abbey’) gives him a much-needed second chance and a leg up by placing him in an emergency accommodation flat. With a roof finally over his head and off the streets, James can finally start the road to recovery - but he still has no money to feed himself. One night a stray ginger cat wanders into his flat, and the pair quickly become inseparable. When Bob the cat (played by real-life Bob the cat) tags along on James’ busking trip, Bob prove to be a huge drawcard, and the money comes pouring in. With a few setbacks here and there, James and Bob become local and soon social media celebrities, paving the way for a successful and clean life together.

This is a true story and it’s a good one - if only the film could have served it better instead of trying to be the next ‘Marley and Me’.

If this film started with a puppet in a garbage can singing “H is for Heroin”, it may have been a bigger seller. While a very lovely and heartwarming story, it is so disappointingly tame and clean. This man was a heroin addict FFS! He lived on the streets of one of the busiest cities in the world. He could not feed himself and he was saved by a cat! Yet my guess is 90% of the people who walk out of this film will exclaim “How cute was that cat!” Argh!

At the end of the day, this is a true story and it’s a good one - if only the film could have served it better instead of trying to be the next ‘Marley and Me’... with heroin... and a cat instead of dog... and the cat doesn’t die... Whatever! You’re picking up what I’m putting down, yes? The film utilises a lot of cat POV shots showing that the cat’s story is just as important as the human’s. Even the film’s poster features Bob while Treadway’s face is cut off half way because this film isn’t about the recovering addict it’s about the cat that's wearing a scarf! OMG it’s so adorable. I think I’ve made my point.

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