Complete A-Z list

Kid, The


Stars: Rupert Friend, Natascha McElhone, Ioan Gruffudd, Jodie Whittaker, Con O'Neill, Augustus Prew, Bernard Hill, William Finn Miller, James Fox, Shirley Anne Field, Tom Burke, Ralph Brown, David O'Hara, Helen Lederer

Director: Nick Moran

Actor-turned-director Nick Moran follows Telstar with an uplifting (if unfortunately rather over-Dickensian in its dispiritingly glum treatment) fact-based biopic extracted by its author from “the No 1 best-selling book by Kevin Lewis” which recounted his rise from abused poverty-stricken council estate youngster to illegal street boxer ‘The Kid’ - and his subsequent exploitation by crooks before he rose from the depths to become a successful writer and family man, a fate celebrated by Moran by a rising crane shot of his ‘re-birthed’ hero and his family, framed in the kind of flower-decked garden beloved of television movies aimed at an American audience. That said, the story works well enough and delivers quite a dramatic punch.

It’s a strong enough story not to need too many directorial flourishes and to his credit – while playing the dark sequences of the young hero’s abuse rather too darkly – Moran concentrates on performance. Miller impresses as the young Lewis, while Fox makes a fair stab at a working-class accent, as does his on-screen wife Field. Gruffudd’s decent teacher and Hill as a reasonable children’s home principal are also impressive. But Burke, playing a bearded social worker, simply brings a stereotype to stereotypical life.

Friend scores as the grown-up Lewis, although his slight build hardly convinces as a savage street fighter and, for collectors of the incongruous, there’s McElhone as Lewis’ abusive cigarette-in-the-mouth slattern whose constant flow of four-letter words makes her seem even more ridiculous than the role deserves. The best comment on her characterization comes on-screen when someone describes her as “Frankenstein in drag”. (OK, I know Frankenstein wasn’t actually the monster but, in context, the tag works well).

Alan Frank

UK 2010. UK Distributor: Revolver Entertainment. Colour.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 15 Sep 2010