Kisses is an Irish coming-of-age film set to the music of Bob Dylan and centers around two kids who run away from home and spend Christmas night together on the streets of Dublin. Writer/director Lance Daly provides a heartfelt and beautifully photographed story and expertly captures the inner life of kids whose innocence and daring vulnerability take them on an enchanting, yet brief, adventure. Stylistically, Daly shoots the film with bleak introductory scenes in black and white then slowly warms up the film with color with each successive scene as the kids escape their dismal lives in the Irish ghetto and embrace their newfound freedom on the streets of Dublin.
The kids in question, Dylan (Shane Curry) and Kylie (Kelly O’Neill), are next-door neighbors living together in a housing project. They’re both aware of how rough the other one has it, but don’t completely understand the severity of it. One day when Dylan’s abusive father beats up his mother, Kylie provides a means of escape for him and the two flee and make their way to Dublin in search of Dylan’s older brother Barry, who ran away himself two years earlier.
The two young leads in the film, Kelly O’Neill and Shane Curry, are relative new-comers and Daly expertly draws natural and endearing performances from them. Curry has a stoic presence punctuated with boyish anger, capturing the essence of a kid who’s been through a lot of abuse. O’Neill gives a touchingly sweet performance as a young girl who is both idealistic and resourceful. The kids experience moments of wonder like when they go to the mall and buy new coats and loads of candy or when they meet Bob Dylan (or at least a man they think is Bob Dylan) in the alley behind a bar. They also experience danger as Dylan and Kylie dash through the streets dodging shady characters and avoiding harrowing situations. Yet, amidst all of that there is a sweet purity to Dylan and Kylie’s relationship, punctuated by a back-alley first kiss. However, those moments don’t last long, and as the film slowly reverts back to its original black and white the uncertainty of their futures again becomes apparent, but this time with no honest means of escape.
Kisses invokes the same kind of emotions of other children-on-the-run films like Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, but with a subtly that makes the film captivating and beautiful.
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- Released: 2008
- Review: Kisses is an Irish coming-of-age film set to the music of Bob Dylan and centers around two kids who run away from home and spend Christmas night together on the streets of Dublin. Writer/director Lance Daly provides a heartfelt and beautifully photographed… (more)