Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review - Kid

A stirring Belgian drama about a family struggling with debt and uncertainty for their future.

"Kid" is a very focused and steady drama. Focused on telling a powerful story about uncertainty and suffering. The searing pain is centered on the youngest boy in a poor family and while the attention is heavily fixated on Kid (played by Bent Simmons) and his solemn emotions, the audience is given a real essence of how the entire family is affected by the economic woes slowly revealed in the first act.

One of the initial things that drew me to this film was what appeared to be a portrait of a mother that looked like she was at a complete loss. A woman who appeared to have exhausted every avenue in trying to make things work for her family. A woman in a situation that faced a new obstacle around every corner, obstacles that only made matters worse. I'm talking about a point past desperation, where the human spirit and will to push forward seem to be void or broken. Director Fien Troch explores those emotions in a very steady fashion that can easily put the audience in  the middle of a painstaking process.

"Kid" is in no hurry. The motivations of director Fien Troch are clearly steeped in allowing the audience to marinate in the same situations our base is. Letting the audience mull over what these characters are going through on a personal level. Troch repeatedly takes the viewers through the mundane day-to-day actions of our cast. Having lunch, watching tv, chores, and other average daily activities. These sequences not only frame the pacing, they give the viewer a perspective that places them within the family structure. You feel close to each of the characters as "Kid" lugs along.

The performances throughout "Kid" are exceptional. While the dialogue is minimal the emotion are portrayed without error by all. Bent Simmons in the title role delivers a raw performance that will leave you thinking for hours after watching. He portrays an unblemished balance between innocence and mourning. Gabriela Carrizo delivers a gut wrenching performance as the Mother. Much like the rest of the cast, the power of her performance is not in dialogue but in well staged emotional moments between her and her sons as well as on her own coping with a heavy financial burden she is left with. The oldest son Billy played Maarten Meeusen, really helps to bring the lighter side of "Kid" to the forefront. Director Fien Troch never has any reason to elaborate but it feels implied that Billy's character is gay. How that relates to a "lighter side" of "Kid" comes in his physical performance. His mannerisms and body language are entirely comical.

One aspect that is very much welcomed in "Kid" is the brevity stemming from a few children that interact with Kid in the film. These moments allow the audience a chance to escape from all the heavy hitting emotions. Kid has one friend in particular, Misty played by Sander van Sweevelt. Sweevelt is an absolute riot every time he is on screen, including one truly special scene where he gets his head stuck under a tree stump. Director Fien Troch takes a moment in life that is probably painful for the child yet the audience is able to find the humor in it. Kid and Misty share a number of scenes together just being kids, or more so boys; calling each other names and pushing each other to see how far they can test their friendship. These moments really help to seal the connection with Kid. Overall the children cast are awkward enough to release moments of hilarity and director Fien Troch aptly places these moments in an otherwise heavy subject matter.

There is no denying "Kid" is a downer with its focus, yet I walked away uplifted through the series of events that unfolds in the third act. By no means is this feature an easy subject matter to cope with, however director Fien Troch leaves the audience with a positive message through a very poignant approach to an anguishing finish.