A West London comprehensive is rocked by the suicide of a bullied 15 year-old girl. As the school is closed for a day, groups of the students classmates hit the citys streets with tension over the incident slowly boiling over into violence.
France has La Haine, America has Kids — hell, even Brazil has City Of God. Considering the current rash of headlines warning us of muggings, happy-slappings and teen pregnancies breaking out around the UK, it’s high time we got our own trailblazing street drama. This, though, isn’t it.
Focusing on a group of loutish London teenagers, it’s shot and acted in an unflinching, verité style. But unlike, say, the ennui-fuelled drama of La Haine, the hyperactive Kidulthood packs so much incident — drug deals, torture, suicide, murder — into a 24-hour timeframe that any semblance of realism is lost. Jamie Winstone’s (yes, that's Ray's daughter) wretched, foul-mouthed youth is the most entertaining aspect of a film that, while compelling in places, chooses to sensationalise rather than contextualise.
An unrealistically tight schedule of plotted events betrays nearly everything that the shooting style and capable young cast work to build.