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The Kid with a Bike

June 12, 2013

The Kid with a Bike (2011)
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Actors: Thomas Doret, Cécile de France, Jérémie Renier

Kid with Bike

Synopsis: Cyril (Thomas Doret), a feral young child, in and out of foster care, embarks on an elemental quest, aided by the acquisition of a bike, to track down his father.

Review: A return to the world of the Dardennes acts like the ultimate purifier for me – replenishing my faith in the beautiful simplicity of cinema, after the bloated panoramas of so many other films from around the world. The Kid with a Bike makes that purity almost something tangible with its whir of energy, documenting, as its classic, elemental Dardennian title would suggest, the story of a boy using a bike as a conduit to find some crumb of parental care and affection.

Thomas Doret’s wild, physical performance makes incarnate his feral character’s desperate desire to grab some form of adult mentoring and emotional succour, whether that be through his constant dashes away from authority figures, or his spiritually uplifting rides on the bike, to the many scuffles he gets in as he tries to protect his bike from would-be thieves. In many respects, The Kid with a Bike has a loosely similar style and subject matter to the Dardennes’ 1999 masterpiece Rosetta, and, even if ultimately, The Kid with a Bike is essentially a familiar retread of themes and motifs seen in previous Dardennes films, it’s still (if you’ll pardon the pun) a joyous ride. (June 2013)

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