Friday, March 31, 2006

Kidulthood: The Verdict

It's strange, here in Manchester, England, seeing a British film on such a mainstream release. Sure, I've seen the likes of Love Actually, Code 46, Four Weddings, et al at the cinema, but they're not exactly films I'm proud of. Most modern British films (with the exception of anything by Danny Boyle, 'cos the guys a genius) are not good films. They think they are, but we all know the truth. We leave the cinema having watched, say, Love Actually, a little bewildered. We Brits don't know whether or not to like the films or not. Think of them as a guilty pleasure. Anyway, this week I watched my first entirely British film (ie, with no American money/involement). Kidulthood. The much talked about Noel Clarke film. Yes, that Noel Clarke.

Set in Modern London, the film focuses on a group of teenagers, all at the transition stage between childhood and adulthood. An age of confussion and appression, the teenagers have their own style of life, that the adults around them maybe don't like, but are forced to admit to. It's only when the teenagers bully a girl to the extent that she commits suicide that the group are forced to review their lives, and maybe, commit to changing the way they live their lives forever.What I love about Noel's script is his characters. Unlike many other recent attempts at British industry films, his creations never feel forced, and are completely 3D. When one 15 year old girl commits a sex act for an Ectasy table the audience never question her decision, and despite what she does, the audience never lose the respect that they have for this character. She's 100% human, with flaws and all. And that makes the very best type of drama.

I must admit that I was fully prepared to hate this film. Recent headlines in tabloid newspapers suggested that the subject matter was simply playing on controversial issues just to grab the audience's attention. Well, let me tell you, it doesn't. Not once does it feel like Noel Clarke is showing us controversy just for the sake of it. Clarke is showing us a glimpse of real life, and the film has a greater impact because events are based upon Clarke's own life growing up in London. I didn't feel once like the film overstepped its mark. The violence is bold, brash, but most importantly, realistic. The audience question whether what's going on is right or not, and I feel that by the end of the film, its firmly established that this way of life is wrong.

This film is the perfect way to evaluate Noel Clarke's future on Torchwood. Yes, he can write brilliant dialogue (the film has you laughing out loud every few minutes). Yes, he can write black humour (One character is being beaten up, but still, the audience laughs. And everyone in my cinema felt the same). And yes, Noel can write three dimensional characters.

I can't wait to see his next film, Daddies Girl. But most importantly, I've never been more excited about Noel writing for Torchwood. Believe me, we're in for a treat.

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