Kid with a Bike

I just saw this yesterday, the new Dardennes film (they made The Son, a favourite of Tom Chick’s). I loved it, very unpredictable, what you think will happen never seems to happen. It is very much a “realistic” plot, people don’t say what you want, or act as you expect, they are sometimes very petty and sometimes very forgiving. It’s almost as if the whole film were based on a social workers report of an average kid that falls into trouble, there is very little embellishment or melodrama.

It has a similar pace to The Son but it’s much, much tighter and I presume shorter. If anyone else has seen it I’d love to hear what others thought about the ending; I loved it, it just felt right to me though I know it’s the sort of ending that is easy to criticise due to it’s fairly ambiguous and open flavour. When I say that I don’t mean that it’s unclear but very few films would end as this one did, especially considering how it looks like it’s going to end.

In particular it incorporated videogames into one scene so perfectly when the main character goes to an older boy’s house to play Assassin’s Creed. They capture that mood, that weird tension, of going to some random older kid’s house to play games you don’t have yourself (or are too young to buy). The older boy then tells the titular kid how people call him Wes, as in Wesker from Resident Evil, and he puts on some shades and does awkward karate. So good.

All in all I thought it was great, but what did you think?

Just seen it and loved it. Man, those Dardenne brothers sure know how to coax amazing performances out of their actors. That kid was just magnetic!
He looked sort of plain and unremarkable at first glance but what a force he turned out to be!

The ending I thought was fine, it slotted in neatly -perhaps a little too neatly- with their other films. The inevitable process of redemption and contrition in some of their previous films has at times had me a bit irked, like they’d been freaking out on ‘Pickpocket’ and ‘Au Hasard Balthazar’ the night before writing. It felt like something from a bygone era -which can be great in some films, I was totally on board with it in The Promise and The Son maybe because those films had more edge- but here it felt just a little too predicable somehow.

I thought the photography in this picture was just spectacular! Without ever over-embellishing there were some absolutely remarkable images. The wall he has to climb over to see his father really struck me as something special. It had an almost fairy tale feel to it (the Grimm sort) especially the way it was lit at night. In other hands something like that might have been way too heavy-handed, but these guys handle it so deftly. It’s just a joy to watch!
Although I have to say, the Dardennes really weirded out with this one in that they used music, yes actual music in the soundtrack! It’s insane!

All in all highly recommended and a great companion piece with their other film starring Jeremy Renner, The Child.

See now, I am a fan of that bygone era stuff because I don’t feel it should have gone by and that ending to me was so subtle. I mean I know it’s a clear “transcendental” thing but they way they executed made it seem so plain and everyday.

I really like those musical moments too, very Bressonian (his ideas about music elevating things anyway) and I felt like they used the music really well to give a feeling of the boy getting nearer and nearer to his “fate”.