The Kid With a Bike (2011)

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“Dad! I’m here!”

Or: The Kid Without a Bike Lock.

Jesus christ, Dardennes. If this is one of your lighter films, I’m preparing for full on emotional anguish with The Child.

Like a flag being waved on a battlefield, Cyril zips around in his red shirt, getting everywhere and away from everything in a hurry. When everyone else is stopping for reflection or a rest in the tranquil summer breeze, he’s ten metres ahead, a red sports car roaring through the stillness.

The Kid With a Bike is a lovely little drama that briskly glides through its short runtime, dropping the viewer in to observe Cyril’s life without pretense, with is both a strength and a weakness. At times, more background as to Cyril’s situation would be effective (where is his mother? What is Samantha’s motivations?), but choosing the not have heavy backstories to plough through serves the tone well.

In addition, there’s a wonderful use of colour that occasionally appears in bursts, whether it’s the arrival of Samantha, a car, or Cyril’s neverending supply of red shirts (it’s quite startling when he wears a blue one, actually).

Overall, I just wish it had attempted something different or special. It does what it sets out to do wonderfully, but isn’t much different to films like The Past have done before and tried more different things.

It’s a lovely way to spend 80 mins though, that is interesting in its exploration of the unconditional love children feel towards their parents, willing to forgive, regardless of what they may have done to them and how separated they are. Playing the parts of the foster child and parent, the two leads, Thomas Doret and Cécile De France have a wonderful dynamic. Doret performs the character of Cyril wonderfully, in all his bold, bright, brashness that pops against his dull, quiet world, whether he is just riding for10 blocks, or is fighting to get his beloved bike back.

Just, someone. Buy Cyril a bike lock, please.

Rating: 3.5/5

-Ella

The Kid With a Bike received a limited release in March 2012.

M (mature themes and infrequent coarse language), 87 mins. 

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