out of Five
Running tims: 90
Gritty, shocking drama with a disturbing ring of authenticity in spite of its obvious sensationalism – you’ll never let your teenager out of the house again.
What’s it all about?
Kidulthood follows the lives of several teenage London school kids over the course of 24 hours and covers such topics as sex, drugs, bullying, violence, guns, knives and suicide. In fact, just about the only headline-grabbing topic missing is Happy Slapping – perhaps the film makers are saving that for the sequel?
Written by Noel Clarke (Billie’s boyfriend in Doctor Who), Kidulthood is extremely similar to Larry Clarke’s ultra-controversial Kids. The young cast give impressive, naturalistic performances, with Aml Ameen and Red Madrell (as Trife and Alisa, the nominal lead characters) the standouts.
Similarly, the documentary-style camerawork (by Brian Tufano) gives the film a raw immediacy that adds considerable to its authenticity. The dialogue is exceptional – Clarke clearly has an ear for contemporary London slang and it’s likely that you’ll learn a thing or two.
Clarke probably should have cast someone else as Sam, the villain of the piece. As an increasingly well-known face, he detracts from the documentary feel of the film. Also, he’s not really up to the task of instilling fear into the other kids, as you feel he’ll crack at any moment.
In addition, the film’s climax strays too far into cliche territory and doesn’t ring as true as the rest of the movie.
Despite an obvious fondness for sensationalism that borders on cliche, Kidulthood is an impressive directorial debut that proves we need more films like this. Worth seeing.