DIR: Nick Moran • WRI: Kevin Lewis, Nick Moran • PRO: Judith Hunt • DOP: Peter Wignall • ED: Trevor Waite • DES: Russell De Rozario • CAST: Natascha McElhone, Ioan Gruffudd, Rupert Friend
The Kid is the film adaptation of the autobiography of the same name, which details the abusive upbringing (or lack thereof) of Kevin Lewis. It has been crudely slotted into the ‘misery memoir’ genre but this doesn’t do justice to this stranger than fiction tale of a truly inspiring man whose good nature triumphed over incredible adversity and ended a cycle of violent physical and mental abuse.
The Kid is directed by Nick Moran who is best known for his role as Eddy in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Moran was approached to direct the film following the success of his first feature, Telstar, which he also wrote. The strength of Moran’s reputation and that of the source material meant that The Kid was blessed with an exceptionally gifted ensemble cast. Kevin Lewis is played as boy, teenager and adult by newcomer William Finn Miller, Augustus Prew and Rupert Friend respectively. All three do Kevin’s tormented past justice through their sympathetic portrayals with Friend of particular note as the insecure and heart-wrenchingly gentle adult Kevin. Friend threw himself head first into the role going so far as to get boxing lessons from our very own former World Champion, Steve Collins. Of the supporting cast Kevin’s parents, played by Natascha McElhone and Con O’Neill, are especially memorable. McElhone immerses herself in the role and is almost completely unrecognisable as the physically and mentally hideous villain of Kevin’s memoir. O’Neill is remarkable as Kevin’s alcoholic father and turns in a real star role as he somehow manages to evoke the audience’s sympathy despite his character’s considerable flaws. O’Neill was wisely retained by Moran from the leading role of Telstar and deserves to be in many more high profile and highly demanding roles in the future.
Given the brutal childhood of Kevin Lewis, The Kid could easily have been filmed along the lines of The Passion of The Christ but Moran mercifully chooses to focus instead on the uplifting success of Kevin’s life. The film does go to the dark places which are unavoidable in telling this story but chooses not to linger there. As Moran himself states; violence is a currency in the film but Kevin chooses not to endorse it and the film respects his attitude. There are moments of violence but these are brief and almost entirely kept off screen and never glorified.
With The Kid Nick Moran has justified his initial plaudits and is fully deserving of inclusion within a very exciting troupe of young, brave directors coming out of the UK at present. While he is not planning on hanging up his acting gloves just yet, one can only hope he continues on as he has begun and maintains his championing of Con O’Neill.