Monday, 16 May 2011

Cannes Day 5: The Kid With a bike

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are famous French filmmaking frères. Their latest picture, The Kid With a Bike, has hit the Croisette to compete.
While a very basic film in its construction and execution, (which is certainly not a complaint), The Kid With a Bike is the most realistic film I’ve seen in years. The acting from excellent child lead Thomas Doret as Cyril, the title "Kid," seems less like theatrics, and more like existing. There are times in movies where the action or acting seems normal, but it also has the undeniable knowledge that it’s still a movie. You don’t get that impression whatsoever with this Dardenne drama – instead, it’s as if the directors found Doret on a bike, outside his orphanage, and cast him in the film on the spot.
In fact, an orphanage is where the film kicks off . We learn that Cyril’s father has abandoned him, and he’s determined to find out where Dad may have disappeared to, a la Encyclopedia Brown. With a few leads, Cyril is on the case, biking around town. He also doesn’t take no guff from nobody.
A few other sub-plots begin to evolve, and they’re all very engrossing, due to the natural style of direction that the Dardennes have steeped the majority of their films in. The Kid With a Bike combines a mixture of suburban malaise, meeting kids from the wrong side of the tracks, and finding oneself when everyone’s cast you aside a nuisance. I would also like to praise the equally-as-simple score, which is only 6 notes long. Every time you hear it, your spine begins to tingle with a pang of sadness and longing.
You genuinely want to hug Cyril and tell him it’s going to be okay. He’s a kid who is both desperately looking for parental love and protection, but also very hesitant to let newcomers in. He’s confused, alone, and misguided – and it’s these three elements of his growing personality that affects audiences so much.
The Kid With A Bike scoots along in high-gear, but the trouble Cyril gets himself into could be potentially dividing in terms of believability and consistency. It’s also very likely some will construe Cyril’s frustration with the world as being, well, bratty. And if that’s the case, the movie falls apart. But for those who sympathize, the Dardenne duo deliver.

1 comment:

  1. Nick GergeshaMay 17, 2011

    This sounds like a great film, Jake. The realism without being indebted to a 'movie' style sounds intriguing.