The Kid

The Kid


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Stories of grim working-class life for children are one of the bread and butter staples of British film - and there will be more to come later this year courtesy of The Arbor and Neds - but they rarely have such an underlying vein of positivity as this latest from actor-turned-director Nick Moran.

In fact, the hopefulness that lies at the heart of The Kid burns so brightly despite its Loach-style surface grit, that you could be forgiven for thinking it all seems a bit too good to be true. That is until you consider that this quite remarkable story is based on the real-life of best-selling author Kevin Lewis, who also co-wrote the screenplay.

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That Kevin has made such a name and life for himself is testimony to both his own courage and the fact that it seems, sometimes, children are actually stopped from falling completely through the net, if not by social services then by humanity in general.

When we meet him, though, he's a long way from the man he will become, spending most of his childhood as a punchbag for his vitroilic and mentally unstable mother (Natascha McElhone). Fished out of the family home, he finds brief respite at a children's home before events thrust him back into the abusive line of fire.

Years later, he finds the cycle of victimhood continues as he is forced into life as a bare-knuckle fighter. And, at its heart, this is what the film is all about, fighting through and making do and helping others to do the same.

Moran doesn't pull any punches. McElhone's level of violence is borderline pantomime - but somehow she and the director keep just enough of a lid on it to make it believably horrific. The casting of Kevin is also perfect. He is played by William Finn Miller, Augustus Prew and Rupert Friend as he ages and they fit seamlessly together. Also, having met Kevin in real life, I can confirm that Friend gets his mannerisms and speech cadence spot on.

Emotionally exhausting and with lots of tissue territory, due to Moran's determination to take us from exhaultation to despair and back again, but ultimately more heart-warming and life-affirming than you would ever imagine a film centred on casual violence could be. Go see it. I'm not kidding.

Reviewed on: 20 Sep 2010
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Adaptation of Kevin Lewis' autobiography of the same name.
Amazon link

Director: Nick Moran

Writer: Kevin Lewis, Nick Moran, Mark Thomas

Starring: Rupert Friend, Ioan Gruffudd, Natascha McElhone, David O'Hara, Bernard Hill, James Fox, Kate Ashfield, Jodie Whittaker, Ralph Brown, Augustus Prew, Alfie Allen, Tom Burke, Oliver Milburn, Shirley Anne Field, Niamh Cusack

Year: 2010

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2010

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