DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Kidulthood - the 'Hoodies ate my childhood' review

Kidulthood (15)
Dir. Menhaj Huda

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Kids today eh? Fifteen year olds shagging, fighting and doing drugs – and that’s just in the playgrounds… If you’ve already written this off as exploitative nonsense then you’re probably still of the mind that the worst excesses of childhood were depicted on screen by the BBC in Grange Hill… Blood - you’re in desperate need of a dose of Kidulthood…

Welcome to a West London drama that's torn straight out of the pages of the hoodie hating tabloids. Written by Noel Clarke - yes he of Dr Who softy boyfriend of Rose (Billie Piper) fame… Soft he ain’t though bro, he be the top boy, he the man wif da rispect… Oh and a baseball bat and nasty temper… See as well as writing this he also stars as Sam, the hardnut bully bad ass sixth former, the school playground gangsta, the one what is so hard that he’ll nick your GBA off ya, shag your girlfriend bareback and beat you half to death for the privilege…

We join bad boy Sam (Clake actually does a great job with this character, showing his vulnerability only in glimpses which reminded me of Presley Chweneyagae in Tsotsi) as one of his victims is pushed over the edge by one happy slapping too far and takes her own life… Her classmates get a day off compassionate leave but compassion is the last thing on their minds. Think more - sex, drugs, shoplifting, partying and beatings and you’re in the right place!

Menhaj Huda doesn’t flinch from showing the compromised lives of these young pups. Jamie Winston (yeah daughter of sexy beast Ray) is good as the heartless slut of the piece - spouting pick up lines to her classmates like “you can put up my ass, it hurts but I don’t mind” when not sucking off older men for drugs… her parents are nowhere to be found (they’d be so proud too?).
Aml Ameen is also worthy of note as the charismatic but tortured Trife who is torn between his mates funnyman Jay and wannabe respected but it’s going to be tough with his nickname: Moony.

Ever wise Chris Curtis sums it all up like this:
“Young people whose lives have become so small and tribalistic that life-threatening conflicts arise out of minor arguments; where sex is a commodity so common that it can happen in the corner of a bedroom whilst other teenagers sit around playing computer games; and where life is dominated by the need to indulge in every hedonistic excess conceivable. The truth is that this film captures a slice of teenage life that really does exist and which is shaping a generation before our eyes.”

Overall Kidulthood is worth watching, especially if you liked Bullet Boy from a couple of years ago which makes a nice companion piece alongside this.

In an interview Noel said: "Bullying, happy-slapping ...whatever you name it, it is happening already, the film is highlighting that, not promoting it. It's saying, 'This is going on. Deal with it.’” Good point I say!!

Read the DM review of the sequel 'Adulthood' here: The Hoodies Strike Back

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – Beat dis
Laughs öö – Dark comedy man
Horror öö – Add two stars if you've a teenage son or daughter
Babes ööö – Jailbait all the way

Overall ööö1/2 (Tough and mildly shocking - very watchable)

"Miss Piper... not actually in the film"

Darkmatters: H O M E

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