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Review: The Kid With A Bike

It's safe to say that parents are the most important people in the lives of children. Most kids look up to their parents and see them as heroes and role models. Some parents are great and end up having a decisive impact on their children's lives while trying to do the best they can for them, but some parents have other things going on that they believe may be more important. In The Kid With a Bike, we get a glimpse of a parent who doesn't want anything to do with his son and how it disrupts the life of the child.

Cyril (Thomas Doret) is a trouble young boy who's been abandoned by his father (Jérémie Renier). Cyril does all he can to find him and some how ends up meeting up with Samantha (Cécile De France), a hairdresser who connects with the kid instantly. She decides that she wants to help him on his quest to find his father at first, but over time, that job might start to become more and more difficult of a task than what she was originally expecting.

When I can, I like going into movies not knowing what I'm about to see and that's the case for The Kid With a Bike. I was expecting a somewhat upbeat tale that starts of bleak. In reality, that's not what I really got. This film does make Cyril and his life experiences the focal point, but there's not much in the way of a positive message on display. It's not a negative movie, but it's also by no means positive either.

The creators of this film wants the audience to see what life is about for this young man who has been forsaken and completely ignored by the society that surrounds him. This is done with a concept predicated on a naturalistic premise. They look at points of the child's life that are imperative to the film's story and willingly skip out on things like constant small talk that has nothing to do with the movie or its plot and they also go without using a dramatic soundtrack that we may be familiar with. Instead, we get to the actual point of the film from the very beginning and there's very little in the way of a soundtrack at all.

The lack of a soundtrack playing in the background through most of The Kid With a Bike adds to the authenticity of the film. They drain a great portion of that stuff and focuses on the actual events of Cyril's life during that time span. There some scenes during this time that make a clear attempt to pull on your heart-strings. These emotionally powerful scenes are well utilized and illustrate the ups and downs (mainly downs) of young kid in need of his distant father.

As for what the Dardenne brothers wanted, I'll say that they got exactly what they were looking for. The style of the film seen here fits what they like to do with the movies that they create. In this particular film, they want us to see some of the trappings that may come along when a kid doesn't have that parental guidance to lead him down the right path. Like most kids in this situation, Cyril longs to be with his dad and clearly needs that attention and love that your average child benefits from.

As for what I think about this movie? Although I do have a positive view of this movie, I didn't get everything that I would've asked for. The problem that I have really stems from a larger issue that exist with the film itself. The Kid With a Bike is a brisk art house style drama that finishes up in less than an hour and a half. I wanted it to be about twenty minutes longer in order to get an extensive look at many of the relationships that the film had. I specifically wanted to see more from the relationship between Cyril and Samantha. They are the two leads and I would have liked for their relationship to be shown in more detail.

Outside of my desire for this to be a longer movie, I didn't have anything else to complain about. The Kid With a Bike did several things in total that I liked and/or appreciated. It's sharp and straight to the point like I prefer and it even included an ambiguous ending that can also be perceived as symbolic. The non-sentimental approach that's used gives the film a valid sense of realism. When you add the surprising ending that caps off the film perfectly to it, it becomes something else.

Score: 3/5

Rating: NR

Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Luc Dardenne

Thomas Doret
Cécile De France
Jérémie Renier
Fabrizio Rongione
Egon Di Mateo

Film Length: 87 minutes

Release Date: March 16, 2012 (Limited)

Distributor: IFC Films


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