– . – The Kid
A title like The Kid invokes the idea of an outsider fighting the world, or perhaps the increasingly successful genre of youngsters overcoming their demons after suffering unspeakable treatment. This is something of both.
It’s based on the real life of Kevin Lewis, whose childhood is a broken home where his abusive mother and alcoholic father beat him, his classmates bully him and the care system routinely fails him. His attempt at normal adulthood is also jeopardised when he falls in with criminals who know him as ‘The Kid’-but Kevin is determined to transcend circumstances and escape his past.
The script and performances are immediately engaging; McElhone is unusually despicable as Kevin’s mother Gloria, and the three actors who play Kevin are brilliantly true to character – particularly Augustus Prew, who takes Kevin’s teen years. The film’s low-budget, grainy look works with its setting, and is underpinned by a great contemporary soundtrack. It does, however, seem to linger on the abuse in flashback; interestingly, the violence varies from visceral to stylised, but this feels like a creative choice.
The Kid is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story which is well worth watching-as long as you are prepared for a little emotional manipulation. 4 stars