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The Kid With A Bike(2011)
Placed in a group home for children, peppery 11-year-old Cyril promptly escapes, unwilling to accept that his deadbeat dad has abandoned him. Rebuffed by his father, the distraught Cyril is taken in by concerned passerby Samantha, who in time becomes his foster guardian. Samantha's good heart could make a world of difference in Cyril's life, but the troubled young boy still has demons to deal with.
For more about The Kid With A Bike and the The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray release, see the The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on August 3, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Thomas Doret, Cécile De France, Jérémie Renier
Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
» See full cast & crew
The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 3, 2012
Winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury for Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Le gamin au vélo" a.k.a "The Kid With a Bike" (2011) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; a long featurette with the Dardenne Brothers; and a video interview with actress Cecile De France. In French, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Like all previous Dardenne Brothers films, The Kid With a Bike touches the heart in a special way. It tells a simple, perhaps too familiar, but moving story about a boy who needs his father but can't have him. The Kid With a Bike won the Grand Prize of the Jury at last year's Cannes Film Festival.
The kid is 11-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), who has been abandoned by his father (Jeremie Renier, L'enfant). His mother is never mentioned in the film and Cyril never asks about her. Cyril is a feisty, energetic, and at times angry kid who isn't afraid to demand what he believes belongs in his life - first his father, then an inexpensive bike.
The film opens up with Cyril feverishly attempting to find out what has happened to his father. In the state institution where he lives people seem rather nice, but no one is willing to point him in the right direction. Frustrated, he escapes and quickly manages to get back to the apartment where he used to live with his father - only to discover that he has left and sold his favorite bike to another man.
Almost delirious, Cyril meets Samantha (Cecile De France, Switchblade Romance, Mesrine) a beautiful hairdresser, who likes him a lot and decides to give him a present - his bike, which she buys back from the man who purchased it from his father. The gesture wins Cyril's heart and he asks if he could spend the weekend with Samantha. She agrees and a new friendship is born - or so it seems, as the kid uses Samantha to help him locate his father. Eventually he does, but his father's reaction surprises him.
The film has all of the distinctive naturalistic qualities that earned the Dardenne Brothers their reputation. In a familiar style the camera follows closely Cyril, documenting all of his mini triumphs and failures, all of his emotions.
Despite the fact that the film is quite the emotional rollercoaster, there isn't even a whiff of melodrama. Cyril's anxiety and anger come and go in waves which are some of the most convincing I've seen from a young actor. Samantha's struggle to earn Cyril's trust is also believable - she understands how he feels but cannot always read his mind.
The editing is very precise - each sequence has a very specific purpose. This allows the viewer to enter Cyril's reality and stay there. There are no beautiful panoramic shots to distract him. When the camera moves it is because it needs to, not because it tries to impress.
There is an interesting fairy tale element in the film that slightly undermines its realism but it strengthens its message. It also allows the viewer to briefly reflect on everything that has happened in the film. The ending is optimistic but slightly ambiguous, and perhaps rightfully so.
The acting is exceptionally strong. Doret, who plays Cyril, is easily one of the most exciting new talents in European cinema. He also appears in Gilles Bourdos' Renoir, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. De France is also terrific as the lonely hairdresser. Renier, who has appeared in a number of films directed by the Dardenne Brothers, has a small but important role and looks excellent.
The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid With a Bike arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Artificial Eye.
The high-definition transfer is simply wonderful. From start to finish the film has a wonderful organic look, boasting warm but well saturated colors. Contrast is stable, while clarity is often striking. Close-ups convey tremendous depth, particularly where there is plenty of light (see screencaptures #4 and 7). The few nighttime sequences have pleasant fluidity. There are absolutely no traces of edge-enhancement yet the visuals are notably sharp. Problematic post production denoising corrections have not been performed either. Other purely transfer specific anomalies are also nowhere to be seen. Lastly, there are no stability issues to report in this review. To sum it all up, The Kid With a Bike looks quite terrific on Blu-ray. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French LPCM 2.0. For the record, Artificial Eye have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The Kid With a Bike is primarily a dialog-driven feature. There are only a few scenes where a short theme (beautiful strings) is heard in the back. Naturally, dynamic movement on the two lossless audio tracks is fairly limited. Clarity and crispness, however, are exceptional. There absolutely no balance issues. There are a couple of scenes where the French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track opens up the film slightly better, but overall the two lossless tracks seem fairly similar. The English translation is excellent.
The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Kid With a Bike is a simple yet profoundly moving film by two of European cinema's best directors. So far this year, it is one of the very best films I've seen released on Blu-ray. Hopefully, a U.S. Blu-ray release isn't too far behind. As usual, Artificial Eye's technical presentation is of exceptionally high quality. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Kid With A Bike Blu-ray - February 22, 2012
British distributors Artificial Eye have revealed that they are planning to release on Blu-ray Belgian brothers Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne's latest film Le gamin au vélo a.k.a The Kid with a Bike (2011), starring Thomas Doret, Cécile De France (Haute tension), ...
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