Kicks Movie Review
It's an intriguing idea, but the film is too timid and awkward to really get going.
Two 15-year-old girls are bored with their life in Liverpool. Nicole (Hayes) lives with an absent mother, while her rich friend Jasmine (Burley) has parents who are more interested in plastic surgery than her. They spend their afternoons lusting after their favourite football player, Lee (Doyle), and are stunned when they find out he's transferring to Madrid. Suddenly their yearning to catch his attention becomes something with a purpose, and they cross the line, confronting Lee about his plans on a night during which anything could happen.
Both Hayes and Burley create realistic teens who are desperately trying to act older than their years, strutting around the city dressed like cheap hookers while they try to get into the cool nightclubs and create a private space of their own in a caravan abandoned by Nicole's brother. But this clunky plot devise takes an even more contrived turn when they find a pistol in a drawer.
We know it will appear later on.
This simplistic scripting keeps us from believing the story, and much of the interaction feels forced. It's also directed with a strange reticence to get truly dark, cutting away from key plot elements as if director Heymann is afraid of offending anyone. But the premise offers possibilities to actually explore the WAGs phenomenon--young women whose only ambition is to be a wife or girlfriend to a rich man. Is the film suggesting this is because they have parents who don't care what they do? Or that these girls are genuinely disturbed?
Whatever it's about, the film has a nicely eerie tone but not much more than that. The pacing is slow and uninvolving, the editing is fragmented, and the themes remain just out of reach. Even the object of their affection is a bit of a muddle. Sure, when we meet him, he turns out to be far from the angelic gentleman they imagine him to be. But he's not that bad really. And neither are his unhinged stalkers. In the end the film feels like a low-budget experiment that didn't quite work.
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