Jun 5, 2014

Review: Kidulthood (2006)

Being a teenager is tough and Kidulthood or KiDULTHOOD if you prefer is all about that. It's directed by Menhaj Huda using a screenplay written by Noel Clarke who also stars in the film. I think he's probably the real brains behind the project and he even went on to direct the sequel Adulthood.

Clarke seems to have a thing with writing, starring and directing because he's done all three quite a few times. He's a welcome presence in the film and the subjects he touches upon in Kidulthood are important. However, I'm not convinced of the finished product. While I don't think it's trying to glorify the naughty things that the characters do, I think that the message it tries to get across gets lost.


Genre: drama
Directed by: Menhaj Huda
Produced by: Menhaj Huda, George Isaac, Damian Jones, etc.
Written by: Noel Clarke
Music by: The Angel
Running time: 89 minutes
Production company: Stealth Films, Cipher Films, TMC Films, etc.
Distributed by: Revolver Entertainment, HanWay Films, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, etc.
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Budget: £600,000
Box office: £453,876 (UK)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Aml Ameen, Red Madrell, Noel Clarke, Adam Deacon, Jaime Winstone, Femi Oyeniran, Madeleine Fairley, Rebecca Martin, Nicholas Hoult, Adem Bayram, Stephanie Di Rubbo, Catherine Ajike, Medhavi Patel



The story follows a bunch of 15 year-olds in London. It takes place over a period of about two days, while mostly focusing on the second day where there will be a party that night. Trevor (Aml Ameen), Jay (Adam Deacon) and Moony (Femi Oyeniran) hang around the city committing petty crimes and generally just antagonizing other people. Meanwhile, Trevor's ex-girlfriend Alisa (Red Madrell) and Becky (Jaime Winstone) perform "favours" for drugs and money.


I suppose some people could be offended by this kind of stuff but to be honest I find that Kidulthood goes a little bit overboard. I think it's trying to create outrage and open people's eyes about the kinds of things teens can get exposed to. I sure hope there aren't any parents who decided to lock their kids up in their rooms to make sure they don't get into the kind of unsavory stuff that the characters do in the film. I mean c'mon, the events in Kidulthood are overblown to say the least.

The film is stylishly edited but gets a bit grating. One sequence I liked though was the use of some handheld shaky cam for a particularly dramatic scene with wwo characters' stories being put in parallel. Everything else not so much.

I don't think I'm supposed to like all of the characters but some of them strike me as extremely dumb. Jay and Moony cause so much trouble for themselves again and again and it just gets tiresome. There are some real issues being touched upon here though like racism, bullying, pregnancy and drug use. How the story all comes together at the end though is just a big mess. The separate stories awkwardly crash together and what should have left me floored just left me feeling disappointed.

I also have to say that on a few rare occasions, there were some instances of bad acting when it came to physical reactions from actors. I think that a few more takes would have rectified the problem quite easily. There also are a couple of times where the dialogue sounded pretty bad but overall that was rare too.

All in all, Kidulthood is a watchable movie that aspires to be more. It tries to be a hard hitter but fails in the attempt. It does however have a pretty good English hip hop soundtrack and some of the actors are ones I'd like to see in other projects as well.



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