Kidulthood is a mixed bag. Probably the best of its sort so far. Rage having been pissed on from a great height and better than Bullet Boy. This film by Menhaj Huda follows a day in the life of a group of London school kids as they cope with the effects of bullying.
The film does not shy away from showing the realities of the mindless violence that can be perpetrated and the gang mentality this can engender. There are several entwined story lines, but the main catalyst of the film is the suicide of Katie an outcast girl after a period of bullying and one particularly bad incident in conjunction with parents that don’t understand. The entire school gets the following day off and it is through their eyes we see them deal with their grief and other traumas.
Alisa has to deal with the news that she is pregnant and her recent ex Trife is dealing with his uncle pushing him to become part of the family firm, having him do little tasks for him, whilst at the same time dealing with the rumours that the school bully, Sam has slept with Alisa. These are the main protagonists as we see them take revenge and deal with their problems.
As with teenagers they are in and out of each others pants and this only complicates matters further. Alisa and her friend Becky go on a bit of a bender in order to forget their troubles and at the same time the dead girl’s brother is plotting to get even.
The script is good enough at making sure that this all makes sense and generally the film moves on at the right pace aided by a pretty good sound track featuring tracks by Dizzee Rascal, The Streets, Cee Why, Roots Manuva and Lady Sovereign. There are a few periods when the story drags and a couple of pop video type sequences which are entirely superfluous. There does also seem to be a tendency to experiment with camera effects when they just aren’t necessary, but largely the direction and editing is fine. The whole film builds towards a climactic showdown at a party where everyone will show up and scores will be settled.
Without giving too much away, at the party there is a partly sloppy love scene and a reconciliation which feels a bit shoe-horned in before it all kicks off. The film is brutally realistic and could be difficult viewing for some who haven’t quite cottoned on to what happens when they aren’t looking. Yes, some of this was extreme, but noting in this doesn’t happen. The film could be controversial, and is spoilt by the totally corny ending using photographs and captions to finalise the characters stories. The film would have been better without this and the messages we were meant to heed from the film were loud and clear and we didn’t need patronising. Regardless and enjoyable 98 minutes with a bit of something to think about too.