Kes [1969]

4/10 | 14.Apr.12
Kes

DIRECTOR: Ken Loach | WRITERS: Barry Hines, Ken Loach, Tony Garnett | CAST: David Bradley, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie, Colin Welland, Brian Glover | UK

Kes, Ken Loach’s downer of a tired-looking after-school special, is rated by the British Film Institute as seventh in their Top 100 British Films. Of all time, not just 1969. David Bradley is quite good as Billy Casper, the forlorn boy (he looks about 12 but all the reviews say he’s 15) who tames a kestrel, but an air of amateur improvisation hangs heavy over the entire movie. Ken Loach’s every directorial instinct is misguided or leaden or both. What is the point of spending 15 minutes on the boys at school playing a game of soccer? The point was already powerfully made in the preceding two minute scene of Billy’s humiliation in the locker room. But if you’re going to spend 15 minutes on it, why film parts of it as if it were a television broadcast of a professional soccer match? I’d subtract two points for the godawful musical score alone but I’m not that mean.

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