Edinburgh International Film Festival

KICKS (2008)

Starring: Kerrie Hayes, Nichola Burley, Jamie Doyle

Directed by: Lindy Heymann

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Kerrie Hayes and Nichola Burley in KICKS

Who here remembers what it was like to be fifteen? Oh sure, a lot has changed since the '80s (although not, it would appear, the clothes) but some things remain the same: the excitement, inclusiveness and us-against-the-world power of hanging out with your best mate, swapping lipstick and deepest, darkest secrets, and the all-consuming, life-altering  passion you can conceive for a total stranger. They may call it puppy love, but anyone who's ever fallen for a rock star, movie idol or sports hero knows, it's more than a teenage crush: it's the real thing.

Blonde Liverpudlian latchkey kid Nicole (Kerrie Hayes) is in love with rising soccer star Lee Cassidy (Jamie Doyle). Whilst waiting for him outside the city grounds, she encounters dark-haired, spoilt rich kid Jasmine (Nichola Burley), and the two form an instant bond.

Nicole is baby-faced, quiet and seemingly naïve, while Jasmine is sophisticated, self-confident and assured. Yet it's tough Nicole who's really pulling the strings: while Jasmine pays them into fancy clubs to stalk Lee, Nicole breaks into his car to steal his iPod; and while Jasmine conceives a plan to seduce their hero into turning down a transfer to Madrid, it's Nicole who takes him prisoner at gunpoint in her brother's caravan…

Part girlie coming-of-age film, part kitchen sink thriller, KICKS is both a touching, realistic portrayal of female friendship and the resilience of youth and a fairly damning indictment of modern celebrity culture and the selfish, cruel, thoughtless 'stars' it breeds. Set against a backdrop of dramatic shots of the stark urban beauty of the Mersey estuary and featuring excellent, brave performances from its young leads, this is an interesting, well constructed film that's definitely worth a look.

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