Sep 072007

Kids Movie PosterDisturbing, dark, low-budget independent film about teen-agers growing up in poverty in New York City. The story focuses on Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), a teen who has a goal to de-flower as many virgins as he can. Kids follows a group of young, unsupervised, not mature, but all-too-grown-up kids in New York. One girl has just been diagnosed with HIV and is trying to notify the boy who gave it to her. The film follows these characters and their friends through the day, hanging out, playing, carousing, and going to parties. Each scene is intriguing and disturbing — conveying an urban reality that includes drugs, sex, guns, and disease; and yet never letting you forget these are kids.

Larry Clark


Leo Fitzpatrick, Sarah Henderson, Justin Pierce, Joseph Chan, Johnathan Staci Kim, Adriane Brown, Sajan Bhagat, Billy Valdes, Billy Waldeman, Christian Bruna, Alex Glen, Chlo Sevigny, Rosario Dawson

Lay wanted me to watch this 1995 film. It was not what I had expected.

This is a scary movie or more appropriately a scary slice of life. Sure it’s been dramatized, but it will haunt you long after viewing it. You’re first reaction might be ‘Well this is only a movie. You question whether it’s real. There aren’t kids around like that. I wasn’t like that.’ That’s what’s truly sad about this movie. It’s some cold honest truth. The world can be a dark place. There ARE kids like this who are set on self-destruction. If you look around you can see them. It’s becoming all too common. Now I came of age in the mid ’70’s, and the small I lived in didn’t have quite the scale of ugliness you see in this film. But make no mistake, everything is relative, and relatively speaking, there were kids even then and there nearly as destructive. And I know there are kids who are raised like this, and live like this today.

Aptly the filmmakers chose the title for this movie to be “Kids”. It seems wrong and yet so right. These characters in this movie aren’t kids age-wise, but at the same time they are kids. They’re kids because they haven’t grown up, haven’t learned from their mistakes… and as in this tale, some don’t ever learn much less have a chance to learn. What am I talking about? AIDS.

Now I believe this movie is more than just a pro-safe sex movie, but what you take away from it is up to you. Everyone has an opinion on why kids grow up like this, so I won’t subject you to my opinion. As for the movie being “exploitative” I’m kind of semi-neutral. This movie deals with very dark, harsh moral subject. The filmmakers have tried and for the most part succeeded in telling a harsh tale of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. At the same time though, they could have dealt with the mature subject matter a little more sensitively. For instance it would have been even more shocking if the filmmakers hadn’t resorted to long drawn out scenes of intended sex. It was a bit exploitive and over the top in that way, but the actors did a brilliant job.

At the end of the day this movie showcases a nasty glimpse into a generation that is already messed up and concerned with growing up the fastest way possible. As a movie it needs some serious work in areas, but it’s up front and harsh message remains clear to the end.

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