The Kid With A Bike is a French film about a young boy’s determination to win back to affection of his father after being abandoned and sent to a foster home. The other dynamic intertwined in the child’s journey is the relationship he has with a woman who decides to take him in. On the surface, this storyline is not very captivating. However, this film is very interesting, but not in a positive way. What was more fascinating about The Kid With A Bike was the director’s confusing choices rather than the actual content.
The Kid With A Bike slightly drags through the beginning while introducing the main character. Cyril, a child no older than 12, was abandoned by his father and put up in a foster home, leaving him lonely and feeling unloved. Cyril’s devastated emotional state turns him away from connecting with people, and instead towards riding his bike throughout his town after it had been stolen and returned to him by an adult woman, Samantha. This character tries to help rekindle the relationship between Cyril and his father, seeing that it is the only desire the young boy possesses. However, when this endeavor falls short, they turn to each other for companionship.
The film gets more interesting when Cyril is approached by a late teenager named Wes, who appears gregarious and welcoming and treats Cyril to soda and video games. Wes has his own hidden agenda, which is to recruit Cyril into his gang. As Cyril is drawn further under the wing of an older influence who he sees as a surrogate for his father, Samantha must fight harder to protect his innocence. In the end, it is adversity that brings Samantha and Cyril together through love and friendship.
The Kid With A Bike builds a steady and coherent plot throughout, strapping the audience onto the back of Cyril’s bike as he searches for affection. It isn’t until the end that this stable road ends and viewers are dropped off a massive cliff. The ending of this film was intended to be challenging, but turned out to be puzzling rather than thought provoking. I am still confused as to why director Jean-Pierre Dardenne chose to end his film abruptly, right in the middle of the plot. The film’s conclusion is directly after its climax, offering no conclusive final narrative. Personally, I feel as if that Dardenne’s chosen ending was not executed thoughtfully, unlike films like Martha Marcy May Marlene where a lack of ending closure enhanced the film’s story and tone. There is a vast difference between developing a continuous plot but neglecting to leave audience with the final chapter and creating a plot only to not finish it. If The Kid With A Bike were a novel, the last five chapters would have been torn out. The film’s ending not only left me feeling confused and cheated, but also unsure of the Dardenne’s intentions.
For me, a film’s ending can make or break the entire product. Even if I had thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie, if the ending was created in poor taste I cannot form a favorable review. The reasoning for this is most likely because a film’s conclusion is the final bite of a storyline, and The Kid With A Bike left a sour taste in my mouth. However, this is not to say that the film is not entirely redeemable. The majority of the storyline is substantial, but I would never say this film is groundbreaking. Overall, The Kid With A Bike is a daring, but extremely unbalanced journey for viewers.