04 May 2010

Kicks - released 4 June

Of all the developments to come out of British society's recent fixation on celebrity culture the rise of the ‘wag’ is surely one if the most profoundly depressing. Young, usually glamorous wives and girlfriends solely defined by the wealth and fame of their sporting partners. Girl power it certainly isn’t, but apparently hopping into bed with a bloke with good ball skills has become to a lot of 21st girls a viable career path.

This grim reality of modern life is tackled sympathetically and without judgement by writer Leigh Campbell and directed confidently with no small amount of wit and charm by Lindy Heyman.

Focusing on two Liverpool girls’ (Kerrie Hayes, Nichola Burley - both very good) shared obsession for a Premiership footballer, Kicks attempts to uncover the desperation and stifled dreams behind the champagne cocktails and VIP parties of the local football aristocracy.

It is only partly successful. While the first half of the film - propelled ably by Ladytron’s melancholic electro - is an engaging tale of two lost souls sneaking in and out of clubs and wondering what to do with themselves; the second half- when they actually meet and take their hero hostage- is sadly disappointing.

The defining act of kidnapping the star player seems unlikely and even unnecessary to the story as a whole and even threatens to devalue the strength of what went on before. The two girls are at first seen as normal girls tainted somewhat by the regrettable disease of celeb worship, but never the less normal. In the second half they are borderline psychos; playing mind games with the captive winger and taking weird pics of him on their mobiles. An added element of horror yes, but one that detracts from the well balanced social commentary of before and not something that rings true of two ‘normal’ 15 year girls.

That aside, Kicks is an interesting and enormously relevant film and one that it is encouraging to see being made in this country.