Directed: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Bob (the Cat), Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas
Release Date: November 4th
Runtime: 103 minutes
JAMES Bowen and his cat Bob have made quite the name for themselves. Propelled to stardom by a series of books based on their lives, it wasn’t long before the film rights were snapped up. A Street Cat Named Bob successfully captures the heart-warming spirit of the story’s print form.
The film follows James, a man on his “ninth life” facing the hardships of sleeping rough. By chance he comes across an injured stray cat; using almost all the money he has left, James nurses the ginger feline back to health. Afterwards the cat refuses to leave his side and follows James everywhere, including onto the bus and while he’s out busking. The two form a strong friendship, a bond that changes both of their lives forever.
“A cute and cuddly cat film” this is not. The issues of homelessness and drug addiction are featured just as prominently as Bob himself. Through some harrowing imagery the film grants us insight into the plight of homelessness, wherein a man is isolated and made invisible to the rest of society.
“A cute and cuddly cat film’ this is not. The issues of homelessness and drug addiction are featured just as prominently as Bob himself.”
Bob is no ordinary cat, flouting the feline stereotypes of selfish, aloof, and antisocial behaviour. James may have rescued Bob but we can see that it is Bob who also saves James, encouraging him as he strives to ditch his drug addiction for good. Bob also performs tricks while his friend and owner is busking in town, attracting attention and adoring fans.
Luke Treadaway’s performance as James is brilliant and heartfelt, and the actor lends his vocal talents to the feature as well, making for an excellent soundtrack. Bob the cat is portrayed by four cats including the star of his own film, Bob himself. The real James too gets a small, yet touching cameo.
The film, in comparison with the preceding books, is a bit drawn out and commercialised. Hollywood tropes appear which feel inauthentic and detract from what is otherwise an honest, heartfelt tale. Yet the film still manages to preserve its central message of perseverance in the face of hardship, one that will leave you crying and laughing your way through.
In a Nutshell – A stray cat helps a struggling man to overcome the hardships of homelessness and drug addiction. An adorable, yet earnest film.