Today: April 17, 2024

Kid, The

The making of The Kid was inevitable. The best-selling novel about
a true story of an abused council estate boy, becoming a streetfighter
and still coming out the other side alive, has been nothing short of a
national phenomenon.

Its author, chart-topping crime novelist Kevin Little, talking about
it on the couches of daytime television, in numerous newspaper
interviews and now retelling the troubles of his life on the big screen.
The Kid is a story of domestic violence, not just a reflection
of events, but the lasting effect it had on Kevin throughout the course
of his young life. It is also an account of turning this around.

A likeable ending, then, for a failsafe movie deal, but it’s not like
your adapting Dickens here, and with Lewis taking the helm of the
screenplay it takes someone perfect to translate. Enter Nick Moran, BIFA-nominated actor who, although has a relatively small directoral resume (his debut being 2008’s Telstar starring Kevin Spacey) has been pegged as one to watch.

Casting for a film with this sort of anticipation is equally crucial. Rupert Friend
fills the role of The Kid, superbly matching Lewis’ tone and mannerisms
to an eery degree and making his actions, as the result of his past,
completely believable. His wide-eyed naivety and uncertainty shine
through clearly, and when viewing a real life Lewis in an interview
played over the closing credits and you can barely tell the difference. Ioan Gruffudd
plays a school teacher and role model convincingly, managing to supass
the corny ‘go get ‘em’ persona whilst still proving an inspiration to
teenage Kevin in absence of a decent father figure.

Moran favourite Con O’Neill fills the booze-fuelled dad role depressingly well,
trying best he can through a haze of spirits to discourage his wife
from abusing Kevin but ultimately turning away from the scenes of
terror. Natascha EcElhone‘s pivotal role, the reason for Kevin’s
timid and closed off approach to life, is grotesque. In the novel, Lewis
dwells on his mother as being tortured herself. On screen, Gloria’s
snarled lip and poised fag give her the air of a pantomime baddy and the
nature of violence might have seemed far-fetched, be it not for William
Finn Miller’s horribly real reactions.

The contribution of Miller’s young Kevin and the adolescent Augustus Prew
brings the narrative nervously towards Lewis’ adult years. Both
brilliant portrayals of the early Kevin sparks curiosity as to what
awaits this troubled man. A few short-lived streetfights seem quietly
underplayed against the gritty backdrop of 90’s Croydon, and it would
have been interesting to get a more insightful look into how Lewis
gained such a reputation after suffering at the hands of his parents.
For a film boasting the sort of nature associated with low budget
British films, this violence seems restrained, with Moran opting to keep
the impact mainly hidden.

An adaptation of a book this popular is inevitably going to
draw a larger audience than most British films, but the power driving
the film is Kevin and a deafeningly obvious set of events that needs no
dressing up.
That said this is a thoughtfully created film. The
subject matter is handled carefully and doesn’t dominate the content,
instead concentrating on the effects it has on Kevin’s social and
personal interactions and his perceptions of other people. The bigger
picture of the political occurrences interjecting with Kevin’s life are
illustrated through news footage juxtaposed against Friend’s bright eyed
hope. It’s a typical story of defying the odds no one is denying that,
but it’s one that, to most people will hit home to some degree.

Moran talks of himself, as a teenager, wearing the trousers that are
too short and how didn’t own clothes outside of his school uniform, and
with Friend, Miller and Prew walking the words spoken by Kevin Little,
and Moran at the helm, there is every reason to grow to love this
character that we either were or knew. And because of that you genuinely
want him to win.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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