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Review - Film - Knockout performance - The Kid

Director: Nick Moran

Starring: Natascha McElhone, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Friend

Out now on DVD

Certificate: 15

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5

Croydon, south London, is the setting for the heart-warming drama, The Kid. Based on the autobiography of Kevin Lewis, this film takes the audience on the journey of a young man who aims to make a success out of his thus-far imperfect life.

After years of abuse from his parents and knowing nothing but hatred and violence, Kevin is put in a children's home where he learns to be less anti-social.

Unfortunately, his mother asks that he return home, where he continues to be beaten in truly heart-wrenching scenes. The violence goes unnoticed until one of his teachers contacts the social workers, who take him to a steadier life with foster parents, where he begins his dream of running a business.

When his foster father dies, the dream becomes reality and Kevin sets up several businesses with the help of his deceased guardian's criminal friend. The crook then gets Kevin involved in illegal boxing, resulting in more physical pain and emotional turmoil. This is where he gains the alias of "The Kid".

This film gets at least four stars from me. Wonderfully directed by Nick Moran, with classical music that stitches the scenes seamlessly together, Kevin's transformation from a weedy child to a successful businessman is engaging: a combination of romance, action and drama, with plenty of gripping moments and a happy ending, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a gritty drama.

Jamie Gomersall, 15, Outwood Grange Academy, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5

Based on a best-selling misery memoir, The Kid shows our protagonist subjected to violence from parents, teachers, peers and, later, the bare-knuckle fighters of the underworld. Kevin's sole purpose is to survive.

Rupert Friend's performance as Kevin is almost overwhelming as we follow his struggle, which starts with horrific abuse from his mother. We see the reality of a sadistic woman, played unnervingly well by Natasha McElhone, who can casually abuse her own son while the rest of the family, along with the audience, is left dumbstruck.

Characters such as the mother destroy our faith in humanity before Moran puts it back together. Fortunately, there are glimpses of kindness in the film. A teacher, a carer and Kevin's only love, Jackie, are all compassionate.

Kevin is a fighter who changes his goal from survival to success, despite setbacks. Violence is shown as destructive in every sense, yet Kevin somehow draws strength from each blow. Let's hope his inspiring message raises awareness, because the real battle is against ignorance.

A gritty portrayal of '80s working-class London, The Kid is harrowing yet compelling and inspiring.

Annabelle Le Havre, Filmclub leader, Outwood Grange Academy, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after-school clubs where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister

Filmclub Pupil reviews

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid

Director: George Roy Hill

Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katherine Ross

Certificate: 12A

Out now on DVD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5

Possibly the perfect Western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid sums up all that is brilliant in the genre.

From the brilliant Sundance Kid's sharp draws and perfect accuracy to the pair's dangerous love interests, this movie has it all.

As outlaws, the lead characters could be hard to like, but the on-screen chemistry between Newman and Redford is so incredible that you find yourself in love with them from the start.

The film is also funny, but the humour is dark and comes when the two find themselves in dangerous situations. The final scene, which I can only describe as incredible for fear of spoiling it for everyone, is a masterclass in exploring the boundaries of friendship and it emphasises the dangers of these men's lifestyles.

Dan Green, 15, Hampton School, Middlesex


Director: Julia Bacha

Certificate: 12A

Out now on DVD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5

When I saw the synopsis for Budrus, I felt a little out of my depth. I don't feel equipped to comment on the Palestinian situation, and don't think I ever will. However, Budrus gave me an insight into life in the area.

Budrus, a village in the centre of the conflict over the Israeli barrier on the West Bank, embodies the struggle of the Palestinians to keep their land and livelihood, as the Israeli military begin building on their territory.

Julia Bacha follows the villagers as they take a stand. They are tired of being oppressed, but they follow a non-violent path, uniting the political factions Fatah, Hamas and even Israeli activists, in a little-known liberation movement that changed history.

As a young woman, I was struck by the courage of 15-year-old Iltezam. After the men were met with violence, Iltezam set up a women's contingent that moved to the front lines as a form of defence. The courage and creativity of these women was empowering.

Sarah Wilson, 17, Boswells School, Chelmsford, Essex.

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