Friday, 25 June 2010

The Kid - EIFF - Cineworld - 23/6/10

Many will already know the story of Kevin Lewis and his remarkable, traumatic childhood. It was a best selling memoir and one which propelled Lewis into the mainstream world and heralded the start of a new life as one of the foremost crime writers in the country. Here Nick Moran takes the story and brings it to the big screen.

It would have been easy for this to have been a disaster. In the wrong hands the terrible abuses suffered by Kevin at the hands of his “Frankenstein in drag” mother could have been played for easy tears or cheap sentimentality. Under the direction of Moran however we are given the truth of the situation; brutal, awful, shocking bursts of violence that render us speechless and feeling more than a little ashamed of the knowledge that these things are happening in our streets.

When Lewis is eventually taken out of the family home by social services and placed in a care home he is given the safety and love that all children require. That is short lived however as social services remove him and return him to his mother where the abuse begins again almost immediately. This time a teacher senses that something is wrong and offers Kevin support, kindness and, most importantly, believes him when he eventually reveals what is happening at home. Soon Kevin is leaving home for the last time for life with a wealthy entrepreneur and his wife in the leafy suburbs.

After a brief period of normality Kevin is plunged into the criminal underworld of London and finds himself earning money in illegal bare knuckle boxing matches and being the “front” for a bar that is simply operating as a long firm. At this point Kevin meets a girl, falls in love and, almost inevitably, has the rug pulled from underneath his feet yet again.

The way in which Kevin takes retribution and finds hope is almost unbelievable but it is true and it is an ending that brings a tear to the driest eye and a warm feeling to the coldest heart. The story of Kevin Lewis is remarkable...what starts as a dark tale becomes a story of hope, inspiration and triumph.

Nick Moran is a well known face thanks, in chief, to his great performance as “Eddy” in “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”. As a producer and director he is also a well respected talent (his biopic of Joe Meek “Telstar” is a lost classic) and in “The Kid” he has shown that he has the ability to produce a mainstream film that will also please the cinephiles. He has drawn a fabulous performance from Rupert Friend as Kevin and managed to create one of the great screen villains in Gloria (played with a sense of true evil by Natashca McElhone).

A wonderful story.

A wonderful film.

A remarkable man.

We should be thankful for many reasons to Kevin Lewis.

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