Sunday, April 8, 2012

Le gamin au velo (The kid with a bike)

THE KID WITH A BIKE (Le gamin au vélo) movie... by MoviesCentralgr
I was leery of seeing another Dardennes brothers' movie since their  specialty is realistic portrayals of parents who don't know how to take care of children so they screw them up mercilessly.

The kid (Cyril played by Thomas Doret) with a bike is one of those.  But this time, the kid is eleven, and has a deep bond with his bike, which means that he can ride off his aggressive frustration at being abandoned. Cyril can make his bike heel like a dog, and rear like a horse.  The bike has a life of its own, and is his family, until he meets Samantha (played by Claire de France), a hair stylist who happens to be in a medical clinic at the moment Cyril is trying to escape from the authorities.  He hangs onto her and unlike all the other adults in his life, she does not shake him off.

This is the beginning of a complex relationship which has a clear eyed poignancy unusual in movies.  We cannot look away when Cyril falls under the spell of an older boy whose motives are unclear at first.  We only know that it will end badly.  But surprisingly, this movie does not end as badly as we suspect.  Every word of the screenplay is necessary, and every action of the boy digs into us with visceral urgency.  This is an unforgettable movie.

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