Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

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

Written by
Justin Tipping and Joshua Beirne-Golden
Directed by
Justin Tipping
Jahking Guillory, Christopher Jordan Wallace, Mahershala Ali

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.

Report an error
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


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Globe Newsletters

Get a summary of news of the day

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at