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Kicks ditches typical coming-of-age story for remarkably confident tale

Christopher Jordan Wallace, Christopher Meyer, and Jahking Guillory in Kicks (2016)

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Kicks
Written by
Justin Tipping and Joshua Beirne-Golden
Directed by
Justin Tipping
Starring
Jahking Guillory, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Mahershala Ali
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

How far would you go for a pair of sneakers? For most, about a block or two. But for the 15-year-old Brandon (Jahking Guillory) at the centre of Justin Tipping's sharp feature debut Kicks, the answer would be to the moon and back. That's because Brandon lives in a rough-and-tumble patch of Oakland, Calif., where a fresh pair of shoes might just be the teen's ticket out of a lifetime of disrespect and crime. So when his black-and-red Air Jordans go missing, it's as if the very fabric of Brandon's reality is torn asunder. Tipping, who also co-wrote the polished script, captures this unique mix of adolescent anxiety, urban decay and societal friction in a remarkably confident fashion, pushing what could have been a trite coming-of-age tale into a confident riff on Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief. And as the young hero at the centre of the tale, Guillory displays astonishing depth and heart. To summarize: Run, don't walk.

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About the Author

Barry Hertz is the deputy arts editor and film editor for The Globe and Mail. He previously served as the Executive Producer of Features for the National Post, and was a manager and writer at Maclean’s before that. His arts and culture writing has also been featured in several publications, including Reader’s Digest and NOW Magazine. More

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