More than a feline...
This tale of a recovering drug addict and his extraordinary cat refuses to play on mawkish emotion and DAVID EDWARDS thinks A Street Cat Named Bob, which also stars Beaconsfield actress Joanne Froggat, is all the better for it WHILE recent moggie movies such as Top Cat Begins, Keanu and Nine Lives proved to be as much fun as having your face shoved into a loaded litter tray, this true story turns out to be the cat’s pyjamas.
Despite the cutest headline act since Bambi, the story is careful to steer clear of mawkishness with lots of urban realism in between kitty reaction shots.
And if cat popularity on YouTube is anything to go by, this should prove to be box office catnip.
Inspired by James Bowen’s international bestseller of the same name, the movie stars Luke Treadaway (Clash Of The Titans, Unbroken) as well-meaning but weak-willed rough-sleeper James.
Still recovering from a heroin habit, his life seems to be on the up after being given a small flat, befriending a shapely neighbour (Ruta Gedmintas) and adopting a stray ginger tom (actually played by Bob himself ).
With the animal perched on his shoulder or on his guitar, James goes from struggling busker to a favourite entertainer on the streets of Covent Garden.
But even with his new pal giving him a reason to get up, James learns that living a clean life has problems of its own.
There’s the junky pal who threatens to drag him back to his old ways, the estranged father (Anthony Head) who seems to shun a reunion and, worst of all, the city’s dogs forever threatening to turn Bob into lunch.
Naturally, we’re all here to soak up real-life Bob on the big screen and not for one minute does the endlessly purring pussy disappoint. With a deep ginger coat and emerald eyes, he’s as cute as you could hope for.
The human cast may be on form but are really all reduced to supporting roles.
Not that the makers allow the sentimentality to become cloying – one shudders to think how Hollywood would have approached the story – with the streets of London looking uniformly unwelcoming and the issues surrounding addiction presented unflinchingly.
It all adds up to a redemptive and surprisingly honest film.
Star: Joanne Froggat and left, Luke Treadaway as James and Bob as himself