Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels alumnus Nick Moran has been quietly building himself a respectable second career as a writer, producer and director. His adaptation of the Kevin Lewis misery memoir The Kid is told with great energy and sincerity but is distinctly lacking in subtlety.
The tale begins in 1993 with Kevin (Rupert Friend) on the brink of suicide. A series of flashbacks are structured around three periods in his life, beginning in 1980, when the young Kevin (William Finn Miller) suffers relentless abuse at the hands of his violent mother Gloria (Natascha McElhone). His subsequent life is a seesaw between the temporary sanctuary of surrogate father figures and the inescapable legacy of growing up among the family from hell.
The Kid is an overwrought, triumph-against-tragedy tearjerker that rarely feels more than skin deep. Intriguing elements are left unexplored, including Kevin’s relationship with his numerous brothers and sisters. McElhone’s cartoonish performance as the cigarette-smoking, foul-mouthed Gloria is hard to take seriously and Rupert Friend doesn’t seem an entirely perfect fit for the real Kevin Lewis, who is seen in television footage at the film’s conclusion. You may admire what Lewis has achieved in his life but The Kid doesn’t do him justice.
Selected release, Fri 17 Sep.