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Scarlett Alice Johnson,
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Well-made and intriguing but a rather downbeat film
STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits
When a girl who has suffered horrific bullying at school commits suicide, it leaves 15 year old Trife (Aml Ameen) and his two friends with the day off school. Trife starts the day by learning the unwanted news that his on-off girlfriend is pregnant and the baby might be his. Frustrated at hearing this, he sets off with his friends and embarks on a day of increasingly dangerous mischief. Juxtaposed with their story is that of his girlfriend, her qualms about keeping her baby and her moral free mate willing to do anything to score money and drugs. Their paths are set to collide and result in a devastating climax.
Kidulthood has that look and feel of a film out to shock (it managed a 15 certificate, but it must have only just scraped it!) If it's painting a picture of what life is really like for chavvy kids like this living on housing estates in inner-city areas, then the film manages to leave an even more downbeat and depressing taste in the mouth than it already did. It's well-acted enough, with a good lead in Ameen (who I recognized as Officer Lewis from The Bill-wouldn't have thought he'd come off as a 15 year old though) and a decent supporting cast, including an attractive presence in Madeleine Fairley (but, what can I say, a chavette's a chavvete!) It has a fine soundtrack, too, including some notable work from Mike Skinner and The Streets. It's far from a bad film, as it is, too, it's just so relentlessly bleak and with little in the way of humour and light that it never manages to come off as a truly enjoyable experience in any way. Still, it delivers what it says and more. ****
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