A Street Cat Named Bob
The true story that inspired the book and now a new film by veteran Canadian director Roger Spottiswoode (Turner and Hooch, Tomorrow Never Dies), A Street Cat Named Bob may well be already familiar to many Londoners. The book, published in 2012, was an international hit, and told the story of James Bowen, a former homeless drug addict in London who was able to overcome his addiction and get a new life with the help of some unlikely new friends, including an adventurous orange tabby cat named Bob.
The moving tale of James and Bob, which also gives an account of the harsh and exposed existence endured by the countless homeless people who roam our cities, has become a respectful and sincere film under Spottiswoode’s careful direction, based on a screenplay adaptation of Bowen and Gary Jenkins’ original source material by Tim John and Maria Nation. Together they have crafted a movie that follows the usual rags-to-riches format without making the necessary plot points all too obvious.
The titular feline is actually played by the real-life bewhiskered hero of the drama himself, and his journey through the film is rendered evocatively by way of slightly distorted lensed images taken from Bob’s point of view, which convincingly imagine the world as perceived by a cat. James Bowen is played by up-and-coming young actor Luke Treadaway, who aptly conveys the bleak struggle of the recovering drug addict. Ruta Gedmintas is endearing and distractingly model-pretty as Belle, a kooky, hippy vegan who volunteers at the local veterinary clinic and befriends both man and cat whilst coping with the loss of her brother, who died from substance abuse. The film features heart-warmingly familiar sights from in and around central London, most notably Covent Garden where Bowen would actually play his guitar with Bob perched on his shoulders and peering at the busker’s assembled street-side audience.
Although sentimental, the movie manages nonetheless to remain earnest, with a story that inspires hope as well as casting an eye on the lot of those gutter-dwelling fellow Londoners whom we perennially ignore.
A Street Cat Named Bob is released nationwide on 4th November 2016.
Watch the trailer for A Street Cat Named Bob here: