The Kid With a Bike
The Kid with a Bike is the latest film from the two-time Palme D'Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardanne. I'm excited to report that not only is The Kid with a Bike one of the Dardanne brothers' more accessible films, it's also one of the best, featuring knockout performances from the young Thomas Doret and Cecil De France.
It's about a kid with... you guessed it, a bike. The young Cyril (Doret) is a foster boy abandoned by his father. As he searches for his beloved father and his stolen bike, Cyril's life collides with Samantha's, a young and gracious hairdresser who takes him on the weekends. At Samantha's, he begins to develop something of a normal life, only to have his bike stolen again by some neighboring kids.
The Kid with a Bike is loaded with intense drama and well written characters who never fall flat. Although it starts a little slowly, things begin to get increasingly complicated in the film's final half hour, leading to a powerful and unexpectedly moving conclusion. It also nails, in one tracking shot in particular, the grace, ease, and pleasure of weaving through the neighborhood on a bike. There's something profoundly beautiful about these simple little scenes that really make you care about Cyril, no matter how difficult he can be.
The Dardanne brothers have crafted a first-rate French neo-realist drama that resounds with the same honesty, simplicity, and emotional depth as the films of Ramin Bahrani or the Duplass brothers. It's one of the great “a day in the life” films and one of the best of the year so far.