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A powerful and raw wake up call for many people.

  • Aug 17, 2012
Rating:
+5
**** out of ****

Older generations look down upon the current one in disgust. They see nothing but kids abandoning dignity, self-respect, and innocence; in the place of those three things, there is instead sex, drugs, and alcohol. Young people are starting drinking, smoking, and fucking (not necessarily in that order) at a younger age. We used to think these kinds of things were reserved exclusively for mature adults. We were so wrong; so very wrong. Everyone is so anxious to grow up; or whatever the masses have convinced them is the equivalent of doing so. It honestly makes me sad to think of this; for I'm a part of a generation that is often criticized by the ones before it for its blatant ignorance. I look at people my own age and I see partiers, grade-school alcoholics, junkies, some are even criminals by now. I can't hide the fact that I find these people fucking repulsive.

"Kids" is a movie about the generation of "now". The side to it that most movies wouldn't dare to touch upon. It's basically a day in the life of a few inner-city teens within the skateboard-punk circle; particularly Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), a sixteen year old male whose life goal is to deflower at least one new virgin a day, his friend Casper (Justin Pierce), and a girl who Telly had sex with a while back and had recently been tested positive for HIV/AIDS. The girl's name is Jennie (Chloe Sevigny). She spends a lot of the film looking for Telly after she gets the results back; hoping that she can savor his next victim from the horrors that she will no doubt be facing very soon. She consults the possibility of death as she makes it across and about the city by foot and by taxi, eventually arriving at the scene of the crime; a house party.

The film was very controversial at the time of its release. After doing research into the controversies surrounding it, I can only derive from the criticisms a strong sense of denial. It's as if the film's critics were trying to ignore the fact that it is by far one of the most realistic and uncompromising cinematic representations of today's youth. Yes, there is "graphic" sex and plenty of drug use; and yes, the screenwriter Harmony Korine (who has a cameo as a character named Fidget and wrote the film at the age of 18) and director Larry Clark have not made an attempt to give the film a moral center. It's not even a narrative; it feels almost documentary-like in its close observation of these kids and their activities. People want a clear reason for why the filmmakers are showing things that most films don't; although this time, there simply is no reason other than for the sake of realism.

But that is what makes "Kids" so darn effective. The real-life kinds of kids that the film highlights don't have the sort of morality that the kids you see in most Hollywood productions do. Because those aren't real depictions of what these people may be like. The kids of "Kids" are drug abusers, heavy and casual drinkers, and don't regard sex as passion or a showcase of affection but more-so a hobby; and for Telly, a reason to exist. In one scene towards the end, Casper abandons all human decency so that he may carry out the deed of raping Jennie, once she's showed up at the house party. For having the courage to make a film like this, Clark might be one of the bravest souls of cinema out there. He has been accused of many things for making "Kids" and whatever followed - some people seem to think he's a pedophile for the many scenes in his films involving shirtless boys - although I personally think he should only be called one thing, and that is: visionary.

Larry Clark and Harmony Korine saw the world in a similar light and decided to put their experiences combined into a mixing pot, and "Kids" is the sort of results you'll get when melding two great, creative minds. Korine's dialogue feels so real and genuine, and a few scenes - like the one with the legless man on the train - carry his signature weirdness; whilst Clark brings the heavily visual storytelling that he exhibited in his fantastic photo book "Tulsa" to the table. Together, they are both fearless filmmakers; this is real life, so why sugarcoat it? I wish more filmmakers would live and learn by this philosophy, because I'm tired of seeing the same old kind of teenagers in the same old kinds of films. "Kids" is something different and daring, and I loved it for that. It is important, and everyone - teenagers especially - should see it. To all of the young who might be reading this, don't be scared off by the fact that the film was threatened with an NC-17 rating and was then released Unrated. It may be consistently unsettling and graphic, but it deserves to be seen regardless. If its art that can reach out to a certain group of people and alter the course of their lives profoundly, I say it's worth whatever it takes.

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More Kids (movie) reviews
review by . November 10, 2008
Kids
My pets behave better than this. And yet, this is what kids are doing. This is not an exaggeration or a class statement; these are real kids in real neighborhoods strolling the streets with no moral direction.     It really was almost like watching a documentary on a primate species, how the males and females gather in separate groups to chirp and chatter at each other until it's mating season. Then they all get together in a big pile and have at it with whoever is handiest. …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Starring Leo Fitzpatrick, Rosario Dawson, Chloe Sevigny, Justin Pierce
Directed by Larry Clark
Writer:  Larry Clark, Harmony Korine
1995

Product Description
Powerful and passionate, colorful and compelling, Larry Clark's KIDS is 24 frenetic hours in the life of a group of contemporary teenagers who, like all teenagers, believe they are invincible. With breathtaking images from one of the world's most renowned photographers, KIDS is a deeply affecting, no-holds-barred landscape of words and images, depicting with raw honesty the experiences, attitudes and uncertainties of innocence lost. KIDS gets under the skin and lingers, long after it is viewed. The kids at the core of the story are just that: teenagers living the urban melee of modern-day America. But while these kids dwell in the big city, their story could, quite possibly, happen anywhere.
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