Kisses (2008), Dir. Lance Daly


Rating: 7/10

I saw this as part of the Kilburn Film Festival at the Tricycle in a half-full (if that) cinema. Which is the problem with these small British, in this case Irish, films they just don’t attract the crowds like a Transformers can. Something to do with marketing and money,was ever the way.

Which is a shame because this is a good film, honest and touching in a way that reminded me of This Is England or In Search Of A Midnight Kiss. Though not quite as good as these two films it came close. Writer and director Lance Daly has also managed to get a great and natural performance out of the two young leads Kelly O’Neill and Shane Curry as Kylie and Dylan.

The story is a simple one it starts in black and white showing Kylie and Dylan at home with their families in a poor part of Dublin in the suburbs. It starts off deceptively  as we see Dylan hidden in a cupboard playing his gamboy and then hear Dylan’s dad violently shouting and swearing and assume this is aimed at Dylan before providing comic relief when we realise that he is shouting at the faulty toaster.

We soon see however that relations with his parents are violent and are what leads Dylan to retreat in the cupboard. It is also what links him with Kylie as we see that she aslo lives in a household which makes her unhappy, with parents and sisters shouting at her and a disturbingly sleazy uncle. They decide to escape and look for Dylan’s wayward cousin in the heart of the city.  They end up on a journey of self-discovery which sounds cheesy but is for the most part movingly and realisticaly rendered here.

As they escape black and white is slowly replaced by colour to signal their new sense of freedom. They meet a amiable and funny dredger captain (David Bendito)  who they cadge a ride off and who introduces them to Bob Dylan. Whose music  provides to good effect much of the soundtrack and echoes the sense of bohemian adventure. They even meet Bob Dylan, well an Australian impersonator anyway in a clever and funny reveal as we see the tour poster.

On their journey they also meet a prostitute (Elizabeth Fuh) who gives Dylan the kisses of the title, and they discover the reality of livinfg on the streets as they spend all their money on sweets, clothes and wheelie trainers, they are forced to steal. They aslo have an encounter with a man who attempts to kidnap Kylie, Dylanclinking onto his car by the aid of his trainers and saving Kylie. Whilst also encountering a dead body and so quickly realising that their freedom must end and they must return to the black and white world of their families.

In some places then, it is slightly unlikely what happens to them but the film really works as Kylie and Dylan’s relationship  grows and they discover their loyalty to each other. Which the film leaves us thinking will perhaps get them through the pain of home-life and perhaps stop them ending up like their parents.


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