Superb naturalistic Belgian film - well worthy of the grand prize at Cannes
- The Kid with a Bike review by PV
I loved this film, despite not usually liking family dramas of kitchen-sink-style misery memoirs. Its story, characters, acting, direction were all superb - spot-on - and the well-written part of the boy loyal to a father who is uninterested in him struck true. The music too is great.
The film never drags and is an efficient 80 minutes or so. Perhaps because it concentrated on action and the kid's reaction to actions against him - rather than staring into space and talking philosophically (like many French films) or wallowing in poverty porn polemic (like many British films of this kind).
In essence, this was a modern fairytale - with its darknesses, villains, heroes, and a boy negotiating them all: like Oliver Twist or Pip.
I could watch this film again right now - it's an enjoyable and intelligent drama, which explores the morality of family loyalty. The ending sort of fizzles out a bit, and one does have to suspend disbelief then and occasionally, but no matter: a clear 5 star winner! From Belgium too.
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
A troubled child.
- The Kid with a Bike review by RhysH
A very touching story from the Dardenne brothers' catalogue. Cyril a young boy in care searches for his father and his bike, he finds them both but only manages to hold on to one of them.
Cyril is played by Thomas Doret,, a stunning performance, he exudes despair and misery with his whole body. He runs and runs to get away from people to get away from everything, his bike just helps him move away more quickly. The first time he smiles is a revelation, a hint of a brighter future.
Cécile de France as Samantha, who becomes Cyril's foster parent give a beautiful, understated performance, there is a back story here that is not revealed.
The ending is ambiguous but after the smile we have some hope.
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
- The Kid with a Bike review by Swambi
This film had a "dogme" feel, as if the actors were making up the script as they went along. It is very simply filmed, concentrating on interactions between 3 main characters, but still failed to develop their character, or give a good understanding of their past or future - although it is somewhat redeemed by a few lighter moments towards the end.
Personally I never felt convinced or involved, and most of the story is depressing. Cyril is unremittingly troubled for most of the film, his father unremittingly hard-hearted (although we never gain any idea why) and Samantha incredibly good and patient at all times. As this pattern basically repeats itself with little change, the behaviour of Cyril can soon become boring and aggravating.
The Directors then attempt to liven the story up with some crime and action, but this is frustrating because it is overplayed and unbelievable, particularly with virtually miraculous effects undertaken by Cyril. This left me feeling that the Directors were abusing credibility to manipulate the feeling of the viewers.
1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.