Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Friday, 3 September 2010
Kes is director Ken Loach's first feature with which he uses the realist methods his television work is known for and produces a statement of intent for his future films. Working with Barry Hines on an adaptation of the latter's novel, Loach depicts the brief escape that young Barnsley boy Billy (David Bradley) has when he finds and trains a young kestral (falcon). His ever developing interest in the art of falconry, together with his great awe and admiration of the grace and beauty of the bird, as well as its hunting skills and proud independence, allows him to briefly experience something better that the tediously oppressive life he lives, where all but one teacher (Colin Welland) have given up on his, and the depressingly restrictive future that awaits him in the working-class Northern English town he had always lived in.
Loach steers clear of sentimental cliches seen in many old films set in the industrial British North by focusing on how human relationships and dreams are restricted by cultural deprivations, rather than focusing on the grim, grimy streets. Hence the emotional punch in the closing scenes when Billy's long-neglected enthusiasm is betrayed and, eventually, extinguished hits us, the viewers, as hard as it does. Said relationships are written to be very heartfelt and are realized very well by the cast, but none more so than Bradley, who makes Billy the kind of character we naturally sympathize with and yearn for him to succeed, as well as feeling touched by the relationship he has with the bird.
However, it is Chris Menges's beautiful camerawork really makes the film, catching the sheer beauty and power of a falcon in flight, perfectly balancing the bird's true agility with its very real value as a symbol of freedom, beauty and grace.
Stars: David Bradley, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie, Colin Welland, Brian Glover, Bob Bowes, Kathleen Scherer.
BAFTAs: Best Supporting Actor (Colin Welland), Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles (David Bradley).
BAFTA nominations: Best Film, Best Direction (Ken Loach), Best Screenplay (Barry Hines, Ken Loach, Tony Garnett).