A Street Cat Named Bob, review: ‘Very decent but slightly insipid’

Luke Treadaway in A Street Cat Named Bob. Picture: Andrea Lambis/Sony

Luke Treadaway in A Street Cat Named Bob. Picture: Andrea Lambis/Sony - Credit: Archant

This is an inspiring film about second chances, the human spirit and triumphing over adversity that is a depressing assertion of just how callous and random human existence is.

This is an inspiring film about second chances, the human spirit and triumphing over adversity that is a depressing assertion of just how callous and random human existence is.

James (Luke Treadaway) is living rough on the streets of London, trying to stay off heroin and on methadone, busking to make a bit of money so he can buy food rather than scavenge in the bins. It is a bleak existence and the only help he gets is from his drug support worker (Joanne Froggatt) who manages to find him a place to live.

And then he gets a cat, a stray ginger that attaches itself to him and suddenly everybody loves him – because he’s got a cute cat. He makes loads of money busking – because he’s got a cute cat. He sells loads of Big Issues – because he’s got a cute cat. He gets himself in the local paper – because he’s got a cute cat. And then he gets a book deal – because he’s got a cute cat.

And now he’s got a film. A very nice and decent but slightly insipid film which everybody will love – because it’s got a cute cat.


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Of course the film is sentimental, but that seems appropriate. If you are homeless and living rough sentimentality is all you have got going for you, the hope that you will inspire enough sentimentality in passerby to give you some money.

In the film, a few nasty people don’t like Bob; other buskers and Big Issue sellers who resent the attention and extra money Bob earns James. They had my sympathies.

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Life on the streets is the free market at its most brutal and to get ahead you have to find an angle to appeal to a judgmental audience – one that has various notions about who “deserves” their money.

In the film, Bob appearing in James’s life and devoting himself to him is seen as some kind of judgment: that because this cat likes him he deserves to be saved and welcomed back into society. Good on him, he deserves it. But what about all the other lost souls who have not been blessed with a guardian ginger tom? This arbitrary moggy-based welfare system seems an inadequate response to the problem.

For a review of Neon Demon blu-ray go to halfmanhalfcritic.weebly.com

Rating: 2/5 stars

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