Kidulthood

I’ve been sat here for 15 minutes trying to think of something to say in the preamble. I was going to replace the previous sentence when I thought of a better one, but it’s so delightfully meta I’m going to keep it in. Anyway, here’s a review of Kidulthood, you pussyoles.

Kidulthood (2006)

“Bloody kids”. “Not like it was in my day”. “What kids today need is a good world war to thin out their numbers…” and so on. There have been numerous films to try and present contemporary teen life to the masses and hopefully create more understanding between the generations. Kidulthood aims to be Britain’s answer to a Larry Clark-esque exposĂ©. Key word there is “aims”.

“Wife? I thought you were a battyman.”

Kidulthood mainly focuses on a few pupils at a London comprehensive. After a girl commits suicide due to incessant bullying, the pupils are given a day off and Kidulthood follows a day in the life of Trevor aka “Trife” (Aml Ameen) and Alisa (Red Madrell) as they deal with their friends, family, drugs, sex and local bully Sam (Noel Clarke). It’s clear from the off that Kidulthood is going to be an “issues film”. We’ve got teen suicide, bullying, drug use, gun crime, theft and all sorts of other hot topics presented to us in the opening 15 minutes or so. Thing is, Kidulthood keeps piling on all these issues to the point where the reality the film seems so desperate to convey is distorted and undermined. The lead actors are all decent, with the possible exception of Mickey off Doctor Who, who spends most of the film scowling like he’s trying to frown his own nose off his face.

I can appreciate what Kidulthood is trying to do and to be fair, it does touch on important talking points, but there is a real sloppiness in the execution. The group seem to be merely ferried from one issue to another without any time spent on making the characters actually likeable or relatable. Trife and Alisa are our main power couple and most of the time the film keeps the focus on them, but I would struggle to tell you what their personalities were like. As a result, when things happened to them, I didn’t really care enough to be shocked/appalled/whatever. Issues are fine, but if we get no real sense of the impact of it all, what was the point in raising them to begin with?

I also disagree with the quotation up on that them thar poster for the film. Kidulthood doesn’t really kick the door “off its hinges”. If anything, Kidulthood wanders up to your front door, knocks loudly a couple of times, pushes some pamphlets about teen pregnancy through the letterbox and ambles off. It just didn’t have any real shock value for me. That’s not to say it was all comfortable viewing. The scene where (invisotexted) Trife slices a man’s face and the fact that nearly all the girls are used like punching bags you can put your knob in are disturbing but won’t stay with you like this sort of film should.

“I want you to carve a “c” from the corner of him eye to the corner of him mouth.”

So Kidulthood. It’s entertaining enough, but its delusions of lifting the curtain on teen life soured it for me. It may shock parents and the older generations, but I’m not sure. Chances are that Kidulthood is just a confirmation of their fears. An incorrect confirmation at that. This isn’t real life. It’s real life as cobbled together through Daily Mail headlines. Which, I think you’ll agree- is a terrifying notion.

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