Kidulthood is available in: English [Original] on Netflix UK
A student suicide leads to the suspension of classes, giving a clique of tough-as-nails teens free rein over the concrete jungle they call home.
Britain’s answer to Larry Clark’s Kids, Kidulthood works hard for realism and shock value but falls somewhere in between. Story focuses on a group of London youngsters who have been given the day off school when one of their classmates commits suicide after being bullied. The various groups of friends spin off to do their own thing, which invariably involves drugs, violence, casual sex, teenage pregnancy angst, revenge and lots of cussing in street speak. All this is crammed into a 24 hour period, suggesting that the yoof of today never live a dull moment when not at school.
Writer Noel Clarke (who also stars) and director Menhaj Huda clearly want to keep things raw and authentic, but it eventually comes off as wholly unbelievable. In fact it at times feels like it’s a bunch of mates making a film and living out some fantasies where they get to be wicked for a day. There’s some messages in the mix trying to break out of the hysteria, to be a wake-up call to parents and elders as to what is happening under our noses, but ultimately sensationalism wins the day.
It’s a film strung together by a number of instances, characterisation and reasoning is given short shrift, the makers over egging the pudding in their unrelenting mission to shock. Some scenes are undeniably attention grabbing, while the soundtrack pulses away with verve and Brian Tufano’s cinematography is right on the money, but come the preachy finale you may feel you really haven’t learned anything new about the unruly and unfeeling kids of today. 6/10