In contrast to recent flicks with low critical scores and high moviegoer ratings, this week went to see The Kid With A Bike, a Belgian film by the Dardenne brothers, who’ve brought you such films as…ah, who am I kidding? You’ve never seen any of their films, you cretin.
This movie is the story of Cyril, who lives in an orphanage in…well, Belgium…some place. Not Brussels. His dad has dropped him off for a bit while he takes care of something or other, and when the movie opens Cyril is having it explained to him that his father is gone, no forwarding address, not so much as a “by your leave”.
But since this is a movie, rather than slipping into a life of despair, Cyril flees the orphanarium and seeks out his father in his old apartment (where, sure enough, the father no longer lives). In the process of flailing about, he attaches (literally!) to Samantha (played by the lovely Cécile De France, seen in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter) who offers to foster him on the weekend.
For Cyril, this just means more time to find his father, in which quest Samantha helps him. Actually, she finds him early on, and Guy (Cyril’s dad) turns out to be an abject coward who just wants to “start over” and a son gets in the way of that ambition.
This segues into other issues, Samantha’s maternal issues, Cyril’s trust issues, a local Fagin who sees Cyril as a useful tool, and so on. This all builds to a very low-key climax and a denouement that provokes some thought but doesn’t seem to have any dramatic purpose.
So, what’s it all mean? I dunno. The acting is good, although the kind of flat affect Thomas Doret has, while doubtless being in character, is anti-dramatic. The direction is pretty crisp, though there’s one shot of Cyril riding his bike that seems to go on for a minute or more, from the same angle. It’s technically kind of a cool shot but it seems to have no purpose.
Which, you could say about the whole movie. Good acting, not particularly boring, technically competent, but seemingly without a point. The 96% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes reinforced The Boy’s notion that critics have terrible taste.
It’s not bad, but we tended to agree more with the 77% moviegoer rating.