Tuesday, 21 September 2010


I got my problems, but I work them out by my hands hitting your face.

Oh films about child abuse, how I have missed you in these summer months. Its been all superhero movies, talking toys, dreams within dreams and airbenders, so it was nice to return to that early awards season flavour. The Kid is the kind of film that's hard to give a bad review, because the innate intensity of the subject matter lends a weight that even a badly executed film can't entirely rid itself of. There's a respect that has to be shown to that in a way, so you can't mention with freedom what you didn't like, or what perhaps was a little overwrought or miscalculated. But thankfully I do this for free, so fuck that. The Kid isn't a bad movie, it just feels like director Nick Moran, perhaps most famous for his role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, has seen several other movies along these lines and tried to emulate, but something is missing. What felt awesome in those movies somehow felt second hand here, and the film never quite escapes that.

As with all biopics, the film is about as interesting as and when the subjects life happens to be interesting, so while the harrowing abusive childhood sequences undoubtedly pack a punch, even with his monstrous mother Natascha McElhone uglified to the point of being a Roald Dahl villain, when the kid grows up into Rupert Friend, his failing business ventures become a little less involving. I'll just say I didn't find it to be the strongest performance by Friend. He's not a bad actor, but there was something that doesn't quite click in his portrayal, and while he is good in the many scenes of awkwardness, when he has to open up a bit I was less impressed. Similarly I found McElhone to be too much of a caricature to be truly frightening. Faring better are Ioan Gruffudd as a sympathetic English teacher and Jodie Whittaker as a potential love interest. Bernard Hill also turns in reliable work as the runner of a child care centre. But all in all it had to be Friend's movie, and my problems with his performance directly effect how much I can involve myself in this movie, given that its a biopic and all.

Moran can be a little too on the nose in certain areas too and like I said too much of it feels like imitation rather then its own thing. But its undoubtedly powerful in places, and if harrowing tales of human survival are your thing then you'll have a blast. I just didn't feel this was the best iteration of this kind of movie. Far from being weak, but not the strongest either.

Rating: 6/10

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