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The Kid With a Bike

Posted by martinteller on September 27, 2011

Cyril, a young boy of about 12, is abandoned by his deadbeat father in the care of some sort of group home.  He obsessively tries to reunite with his father, and in the process, falls into the hands of a surrogate mother… and a rather shady surrogate father.  The Dardennes aren’t straying much from their established style, but there’s no reason to.  Again, we have a highly effective look at people in emotional crisis and in the grips of moral dilemmas.  Throughout the film you’re questioning your reactions to things (boy, that Cyril seems like an awful little monster at first) or asking “What would I do?”  Again, the camerawork is immediate and unfettered by stylistic flourishes, putting you right inside the lives of these characters.  Again, the performances are so natural they feel almost documentary.  While I don’t think Thomas Doret is as powerful a young actor as Emilie Dequenne in Rosetta or other Dardenne leads, he does win you over after an unsympathetic start.  The movie deals with several parallel themes, the most prominent being one of finding love and acceptance where you can, but it doesn’t simply hammer on that one and leaves room for other avenues.  I’m not sure yet if I would put this among the best of the Dardennes, but it made a strong first impression.  Rating: Very Good


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