A Street Cat Named Bob (2017)

I bought the BluRay disk for A Street Cat Named Bob, to watch in my home cinema setup. I’ve heard good praises of the film from a friend in the UK. But, few minutes into the film and I was pretty freaked out, as I generally do not like film showing too much drug related violence. I even stopped watching the film, only to revisit it weeks later. Now, that I’ve watched the film, I realise that, I would have missed a great film, if I missed it. And if you’re like me, then bear the film till James (Luke Treadaway) nearly overdoses. After that, the film is a smooth ride.

Now, over the years,there have been some fine feline performances on screen over the years. Think of Jonesy, the ginger cat who survives the carnage on board the Nostromo in Ridley Scott’s Alien; or of Ulysses, the red tabby who steals much of the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. Neither, though, had to carry a film quite so much as the handsome marmalade puss at the heart of A Street Cat Named Bob.

A Street Cat Named Bob, starts with introducing us to James Bowen (Luke Treadaway), a busker and recovering drug addict. Adapted from James Bowen’s autobiography (part of a Bob franchise), the movie, directed by Roger Spottiswoode, tells how an orange ginge enters his life, and changes his view of the world.

While watching the film for the first time, I had no idea that it was based on an autobiography, nor the fact that the cat in the film is in fact the original cat, right from the book. So, when Bob, the cat, comes on screen for the first time, I couldn’t help but remember Garfield. In fact Bob resembles Garfield so much, that he could as well play the role of Garfield, if a live action movie is made someday.

A Street Cat Named Bob, throughout its entire runtime of almost 2 hours, feels like an extremely smooth ride. There are no exaggerations in the film, and in the book too. The film very gently preserves the peaceful nature of an autobiography, and handle it even more carefully, since the protagonist is a recovering drug addict. James Bowen, played by Luke Treadaway, gives a raw, sensitive performance as the straggly-haired Bowen.

But, on the other hand, attempts to inject jeopardy into the plot – such as when Bob is chased down the street by a dog, or when Bowen finally comes off the methadone – fall almost comically flat. Elsewhere, a will-they-won’t-they relationship between Bowen and his quirky neighbour (Ruta Gedmintas) stretches credulity at every turn.

I’m going with 3/5 stars for Roger Spottiswoode’s A Street Cat Named Bob. Watch it for Bob, a constant source of entertainment, and I can guarantee you’ll leave your movie room with a smile on your face.