Dir: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Starring: Thomas Doret, Cécile De France
The Film: The story is simple for The Kid With A Bike, it isn’t something that over complicates itself and it manages to tell its story successfully in under 90 minutes. I am not terribly familiar with the works of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the brother duo who wrote and directed this, so in that respect I wasn’t sure what I would be in for with this film. I actually want to track down their other works after having experienced this one, and having a really great experience with it.
The film begins by introducing us to young Cyril (Thomas Doret), who lives in a boy’s home because his father left him there. Cyril is shown unsuccessfully trying to contact his father at their old place, but the phone has been disconnected and the manager of the building has told them he left. The boy refuses to accept this, and demands his bike back and demands to go see for himself where his father is. He finds out that hard way that is father is gone, and has apparently sold his beloved bike. These events lead Cyril to meet Samantha (Cécile De France), a very kind hearted woman, who agrees to foster Cyril on the weekends. Things do not go well, as Cyril is a boy who lashes out, he can’t stand having any guidelines and things get even worse when his father Guy (Jeremie Renier) is tracked down.
This is the kind of film that doesn’t aim to explain it’s main character, we can see his situation and through this his actions make sense. He is a boy in need of guidance and there is only one place he wants to get it from. There is that longing for love and acceptance, which he won’t get from the place he wants it, and it is presented to him with Samantha but he rejects it. This film does explore his ‘rehabilitation’ and what it takes for him to accept things. We also have Samantha, who is just a kind woman and takes on this incredible role and no matter what she wont give up on Cyril which is something new to him as well and just has no idea how to react. Samantha does not need explaining either, she makes sense from what we see and there was never a moment where I needed anything more.
Cécile De France is a stunning actress, I discovered her (along with many others I am sure) through Alexandre Aja’s Haute Tension. I have been following her career since then, and she has never let me down. This was a wonderful side to see of her, and this was a role she seemed to really fit into and embraced it. Thomas Doret is quite good too as Cyril, in a role that isn’t just striking out against people. He shows his emotions, he displays what Cyril is feeling through his eyes and something like that is always fantastic to see in a young actor. There was a definite connection between the Dardenne brothers and their actors, they got the best possible performances out of them and it is great to watch. Side actors also do a great job, with Jeremie Renier doing a spot on job playing such a cowardly figure.
I really enjoyed this film, and I felt the revelations that happened were quite natural and it does ground its feet in reality and it does not try and extend itself into anything else. The script is really good, and the execution is amazing. It isn’t an overly uplifting piece nor is it a depression venture either. This is not a Hollywood film, and we get a real truth here. I applaud the efforts of everyone here, and recommend this film highly.
The Australian DVD
Audio/Video: The video is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Audio is presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 – French Language and 2.0 French Language. It contains clearly legible English subtitles.
Both the video and audio quality are top notch, it almost feels one step away from Blu-ray. It is vibrant and clear and the sound is perfect for the type of film it is.
* Interview with Cécile de France
* Back to Seraing with the Dardennes
* Theatrical trailer
The extra’s included are quite nice, the almost 20 minute interview with Cécile de France is a must-see for fans of hers. I enjoyed it and she made for such a great interview. The second feature is the wonderful Dardennes talking about the film, and recounting the experience. It is quite a fascinating watch, these are two very interesting people and at a 30 minute running time you can’t really go wrong here.
Thanks to Ben from MadMan for his support.