Tuesday, March 21, 2006

KIDULTHOOD - flawed but fascinating

One of the things I love about living in Central London is the sheer social and racial diversity of the place. It's not that you *can* meet people from all walks of life, but that you *have* to. It is pretty hard to live in an isolated camelot when next to every wide avenue skirted with townhouses you have a hard-as-nails council estate. This is apparently what drove a young British actor, Noel Clarke, to write the script for KIDULTHOOD - a new low budget British movie. Clarke grew up in the council estates bordering the streets of NOTTING HILL - the underside of the fantasy London made famous in the saccharine luvvie-fest movies of Richard Curtis. He claims that he was tired of seeing his home depicted on screen in a manner that was so far removed from the reality as to be laughable.

I applaud the intent of the script-writer, and clearly a lot of care has been taken to re-create the language, behaviour and environment of the council estates. The movie is at its best when we simply sit back and observe the kids interacting with each other. There is a bravura opening segment where we see the kids flirt, punch and fuck each other in the school playground, followed by a disturbing scene of brutal bullying in a classroom.

The movie is fascinating as a social document but I feel it is less successful as a straightforward drama. The decision to collapse all the (melo-)dramatic events into a single day undercuts the movie's authenticity. It just seems a little too neat that all the plot strands should culminate in a particular party. Having said that, KIDULTHOOD really is a gripping movie and the minutes flew by. And I have to say that any director/editor who can create such a slick, fresh visual look on such a low budget has to be admired, not to mention the outstanding sound-track featuring British urban sounds. This is definitely a movie to check out.

KIDULTHOOD is on limited release in the UK. No global release dates at present. I suspect you'll have to wait for DVD for this one, but it really is worth a look.


  1. You wanna come out canvassing with me on the broadmead estate love. It's like La Haine, but lacking in any depth. It's one of the few times, outside of the anti-BNP canvass in Dagenham, where I've actually been scared to get out of the car. Farkinell!

  2. Clearly shitty. But then, in the context of my last vacation my night bus thru SE Turkey and Iran, a mere walk in the park my young Padowan. Which reminds me, LA HAINE is seriously a far better film than KIDULTHOOD.

  3. great film

    watch it before you judge it