Review by Jack Foley
LINDY Heymann’s stylised, if low-budget, look at WAG culture and celebrity obsession is very much the type of film that lays down some markers for the future.
Featuring two notable lead performances from a couple of the UK’s most promising young actresses (Nichola Burley and Kerrie Hayes), as well as some nice directorial touches from name-to-watch Heymann, it’s a curiosity piece more than a wholly satisfying movie.
The story follows quiet, 15-year-old Liverpool fan Nicole (Hayes) and her new, more effervescent friend Jasmine (Streetdance‘s Burley) as they kidnap footballer Lee Cassidy (Jamie Doyle) for a fantasy meeting.
But as the ensuing night doesn’t go as planned, the two girls undergo a profound experience that will shape the rest of their lives.
Shot on location in Liverpool and featuring an electro-pop soundtrack from Ladytron, Kicks does succeed in exposing the grim reality of WAG culture and the tawdry nature of football player worship.
Yet it manages to avoid feeling too exploitative into the bargain by focusing on the emotional effect on the two girls taking centre stage.
As such, it offers a useful platform for Burley and Hayes to shine, and both grasp their opportunity. Hayes, in particular, wears the look of a girl who is, by turns, seduced, impressionable and ultimately haunted by the events that take place.
She channels the loneliness of her predicament well, offering a keen sense of the abandonment she feels from parents and, belatedly, the object of her fan obsession.
But Burley brings a dark, hypnotic menace to Jasmine that cleverly belies a more damaged individual.
In terms of direction, Heymann captures Liverpool well (with help from A Single Man‘s cinematographer Eduard Grau) and balances some of the more seedy elements with a heightened sense of style to lend the film a distinct look and feel in spite of its budget limitations.
It’s just the story itself that suffers… with Leigh Campbell’s screenplay offering an indifferent script that struggles to engage, as well as some story developments that fail to ring true.
Kicks is therefore a tricky film to wholly recommend, but one that’s worth seeing for anyone who likes to keep an eye on future talent.
Running time: 84mins
UK DVD Release: November 8, 2010