“Kids” Review ✦✦✦✦✦

28 January, 2017

Year of Release: 1995
Larry Clark
Harmony Korine
Director of Photography: 
Eric Edwards
Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, 
Chloë Sevigny

Synopsis: A story of chaotic youth set in the dregs of New York, Kids focuses on a day in the life of a group of teenagers as they drink, smoke, and party their way to an early grave.

Kids Review:

A foul but authentic movie about the destructive attitudes of teens with far too much time and energy on their hands, “Kids” is a film that’s too powerful to comprehend at times and it’s one that is impossible to unsee once it’s made its mark. Told through the fictional encounters of a bunch of real life street kids, some of whom would go on to become big film stars, others who wouldn’t make it through their 20s, the movie is a callous but never exploitative social study and its naïve breed of narcissism comes to reflect the sensibilities of a whole generation of thoughtless New Yorkers.

Presented like a docudrama and assembled within the boundaries of Harmony Korine’s crass and biting screenplay, “Kids” is a snapshot take on the reinforcement of damaging behaviours. As the hormone-fuelled impulses of a generation of latchkey kids lead them down a dark path, it’s impossible not to feel horrified as they choose the route taking them straight towards drug addiction, homelessness, and AIDS while remaining unaware of the potential horrors that await them.

Left neglected and uneducated, the teens are more misguided than purposefully thoughtless as excessive alcohol consumption, sexually transmitted diseases and rape are presented as mere symptoms of a bigger and deadlier illness bred through poverty and external influences. Despite feeling a bit like the prelude to a condom advert, the movie is an expert study of gender relations, sexual health, and delinquency within the youth culture of its day, even going as far as to depict the influence that such role models have on pre-pubescent children as groups of youngsters attempt to impress and blend in with their older peers.

While the vulgarity of Korine’s lived experience delivers a powerful cautionary tale, Larry Clark’s filming style lifts his initial concept to even greater heights with a number of tragic day-to-day observations combined with smooth juxtapositions between characters and set pieces. Although controversial upon its release, it’s impossible to imagine this film being made today. It’s a blunt and explosive piece of filmmaking with a sharp one-day-only screenplay that makes it feel like the best movie Spike Lee never made.


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