'A Streetcat Named Bob' film review
I find it hard to resist cats sometimes. Dammit.
'A Streetcat Named Bob' is based upon the book also entitled 'A Streetcat Named Bob', a true story surrounding a man named James Bowen and his cat. At the start of the tale, James, played by Luke Treadaway, is a struggling drug addict who is trying to scratch a living by busking (playing an instrument in the streets for money). James is given a supported housing opportunity and moves into a house by himself. One evening, a cat breaks in and, unable to get the cat to leave, he lets it stay for a while. Eventually the two based bond and Bob the cat ends up following James around and even sits by him as he plays his guitar in the street.
I'm not going to lie, the cat is bloody adorable. The bond between James and Bob is really the driving point of this film and it hits you right in the heart when you realise how dependent the two are. Bob relies on James for food and care and James, oddly, is dependent on Bob for precisely the same reasons. Bob's charm attracts people to James when he is busking and provides James with emotional support that pets give in that odd way that no-one really understands.
What was quite interesting was the use of camera work in this film. At several points throughout the film, the point of view shifts to Bob's view. It's not the most necessary addition, but it is quite sweet to see everything from the point of view of a cat wearing a scarf. The film is, however, exceptionally harrowing at times, such as showing the fate of one of James' junkie friends and, of course, the ultimate test for James himself: going cold turkey with only Bob beside him as he tries to defeat his addiction. That scene, along with many others, brought a lump to my throat and the film really does give a reality check to you amidst all the cute cat moments. It's a strange balance for a film and a part of me wanted it to choose between hard-hitting drama and feelgood film.
The message is ultimately one of hope and the real James Bowen is now a bestselling author and volunteer at many animal and drug-recovery charities. Bob is still with him and even played himself in the film, along with several stunt cats. Overall it was a charming yet hard hitting film, but it wasn't very consistent.