Shooting Script Films
Starring: Luke Treadway, Ruta Gedmintas
Also Starring: Bob, Oscar, Booker, Jafffa, Leo, Ricki, Trayce
Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: Based on the enormously popular books by James Bowen who tells his story about living on the streets busking and trying to overcome drug addiction when a ginger cat named Bob came into his life and changed everything.
Featured Feline: This is one of those rare films in which a cat is the focus of the story and, as such, appears much of the time on screen throughout the movie. The movie takes some liberties with the books, but the scenes are filmed on the actual locations where much of the actual events took place. That and having the real-life Bob on screen (and James Bowen on set) gives the movie refreshing authenticity.
Many of the shots are done from Bob’s point of view, a device which is cute but perhaps a little over the top at times.
As the film opens James (played by Luke Treadway) is struggling to overcome his problems and is given aid in the way of housing. One night he is startled by noises in his kitchen and finds an orange tom cat eating his Corn Flakes.
James lets the cat spend the night but then looks for his owners. When no one turns up he leaves the cat to go busking. When he returns he finds the cat has been injured, likely from a fight.
A neighboring woman named Betty (Ruta Gedmintas) offers help. She is an animal lover and suggests James take “Bob” to the clinic.
James ends up spending all of his food money for medicine for Bob, but the bond is made and the two are inseparable.
This becomes apparent when Bob follows James onto the bus and then accompanies him while he performs. Bob is an instant hit with the tourists and locals and eventually attracts the attention of the news media.
After further struggles, James ends up being a vendor for The Big Issue magazine which offers work for those who need a hand up. Bob is just as successful helping James sell the magazines.
There are some scary moments, such as the time when Bob is scared by some dogs during a hectic moment on the streets and disappears for a time.
But overall this is a feel-good story of hope and redemption, which makes the movie as appealing as the books.
Especially nice is the presence of the real Bob playing himself in some scenes, especially those filmed in and around Covent Gardens. Apparently Bob was the only cat actor who felt completely comfortable in the real life hustle and bustle of the busy London spot. Because of Bob’s natural acting abilities, director Roger Spottiswoode tried to use the authentic Bob in as many scenes as possible. But the entire cat acting team (lovingly called Bobalikes) and their trainers are due credit for their remarkable work on this movie.
James Bowen wrote an article about his and Bob’s time working on the film for The Big Issue which brings everything around nicely in a full circle.
Kitty Cameos: Several other cats are also seen during the film, mostly in photographs, but there is a white cat with one yellow and one blue eye being carried out of the clinic when James arrives with Bob.
Final Mewsings: Bob really is a wondrous feline!