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Before adulthood comes... 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Kidulthood

Director: Menhaj Huda

Starring: Aml Ameen, Red Madrell, Noel Clarke

Kidulthood is somewhat of a paradox. The film follows several 15 year olds in some god forsaken part of West London in situations the mainstream media would have you believe was normal for our youth. Yet the film is rated 18. Take a guess what this film is about. That’s right: drugs, violence, drinking, stealing, sex, more drugs and more violence. I was very socially active when I was 15, went to a huge number of parties and knew a lot of people. Some, perhaps, were rougher than others but I don’t recall ever having a classmate actually construct a gun in technology class. Which is a shame because I hated the teacher. However, this is West London, not the friendliest of neighbourhoods…

So, in essence, Kidulthood is a window. A window into the realm of the “chav”, or, to be more politically correct (or culturally sensitive or whatever), the under privileged teenagers. Akin to certain other films revolving around teenagers (Dazed and Confused and Superbad both excellent examples of teenage life), the meta-plot concerns a social gathering, and the bulk of the film is taken up by the diverging narratives that eventually collide in a teenager’s supernova: a house party. On the way the audience is shown some shocking themes: teenage drug abuse, a very “light handed” approach to sex and violent tendencies to defend one’s pride.

With such a diverse range of characters, each struggles to shine above the rest. Yet Aml Ameen’s role as ‘Trife’ stands head and shoulders over the others. With Trife’s girlfriend pregnant and his uncle luring him into the incredibly sinister and brutal life of organised crime, he perfectly portrays the victimised teenage boy in such a culture. The rest of the cast admirably steps up the other challenging roles, showing some real talent for such young performers. Of course, the fact that Mickey from Doctor Who is playing an official “hard man” will be difficult to swallow, but his menacing character (Sam) is perfectly believable as the alpha-male bully.

This film is all about watching the conditions some of our teenagers live in. The movie unashamedly crams each theme in a brief 90 minutes, but this just results in an exciting thrill ride led by the inhabitants with the backdrop of a city of crumbling concrete. Albeit, the film is not about to change the face of cinema as we know it, but Kidulthood is still a great insight into a world we should be mindful of.

Alex Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)