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A moving look at kids' life on the streets

Kisses: Rates a B-.
Courtesy photo

It’s strange that this little Irish indie picture was only 75 minutes long, and I still thought about 10 minutes could’ve been shaved off it.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it. I did. It just had a bit of filler that wasn’t necessary.

I’m on the fence as to whether I liked the technique they used of having the two children in their horrible neighborhood, being filmed in black and white. And once they head off on their journey, things are filmed in color.

I liked the use of subtitles in a few scenes (when the accents and colloquial phrases might’ve been hard to catch).

The children in this, Kelly O’Neill and Shane Curry, are flat out amazing.

When we see their horrible home life, I like that it isn’t over-the-top. We see the girl has an overbearing mom that heaps loads of responsibility on her, and an uncle that is probably molesting her.

The boy has a father that smacks him and his mom around. This lead to his older brother leaving years earlier (or as many in the town speculate – that the father beat him so badly he died).

Good enough reason to leave home. And it helps when the girl has been socking away money in a shoe (which leads them to do what 11-year-old runaways would do – waste money on chocolate and shoes with skates on the soles).

Stephen Rea makes a nice appearance as Bob Dylan. And on the subject of Dylan, his songs are used splendidly in this.

When a guy on a garbage barge introduces the kids to Dylan, by whipping out his harmonic and doing a version of Shelter From the Storm (which seems very poignant), it almost brought tears to my eyes.

The second half of the movie loses steam, but I enjoy the gritty feel of life on the streets. And, the filmmaker does pack a lot into the outing.

I thought about how Tom Hanks, in the movie Big, cried when he stayed at a bad hotel in a bad part of town. This movie also shows that fear kids have of strangers in dark alleys, yelling, shooting, and all that fun stuff (wow…what happened to the beautiful Ireland I saw in Ondine a few months ago?)

This movie takes place right around Christmas. It’s the anti- A Christmas Story.

That blonde child had a nice home, and wanted a Red Rider BB Gun. This child wanted a real gun, to off his pa. And instead of finding Santa Claus, this boy runs into the dreaded “Sack man.” (who is rumored to kidnap kids in sacks, bash them up and throw them in the canal)

I thought the movie could’ve been a bit more profound with the “kisses” it delivered (it seemed they tried, but didn’t succeed).

I really enjoyed the ending of this tale, and the fact that for days afterwards I thought about the film.

Kisses gets a B-.