These miserable adolescents cannot be said to be outside of prevailing standards because no standards exist.


A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.

"Kids" gives new meaning to the word 'amoral.' These miserable adolescents cannot be said to be outside of prevailing standards because no standards exist. They live second to second on a steady diet of drugged sex, with a very short life expectancy hanging invisibly over their heads.

The movie is "Not Rated," the dreaded label that reduces box office receipts. That rating should be lifted from this picture and replaced by PG-13 for wide viewing by everyone whose hormones have started to dance. It is devastating in its impact because there is nothing there to envy. It is powerful as a deterrent because no sermons are spoken.

Larry Clark has made a 90s style "Lord of the Flies" by dropping a handful of adolescents into an urban environment to create their own culture without the restraining influence of schools, families, police, or role models. Left alone in their terrible boredom , they create an unimaginable emptiness.

Fueled by beer, junk food, comic books, and drugs, they walk the streets talking about sex and injecting random acts of cruelty into their structureless days. Kicking a cat, beating a man to near death, and buying drugs readies them for the next step of pleasureless, multi-partnered sex, until they pass out one by one, drugged into reprieve before they wake up to more of the same.

Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) is a graceless, unappealing character who loves to deflower virgins. His proud boast, "They're disease free," will haunt him and sooner or later kill him. One of his virgins, Jennie (Chloe Sevigny), is pronounced HIV-positive on a trip to a clinic and spends the rest of the movie hunting for Telly, her infector. When she finds him at last, he has just deflowered the 13-year-old sister of one of his buddies, who had walked out her door smiling, into the arms of a boy who will deny her the pleasures and work of living--and probably of life itself.

There is endless talk of the fluids and mechanics of sex. Soaking up the lingo and the behavior is a bevy of younger brothers, who will ensure continuity of the destruction.

There is no voice here that even hints that they might look inside, that, at a selfish age, figuring yourself out will do. Not a single person crosses the screen carrying even the remotest suggestion of a future of any kind. Not one carries even a single seed of loyalty or friendship. To a one, they are users.

It will be a real shame if this film doesn't get wide exposure among young people. It might save thousands of them from wasting five years rebelling against limitations, for the freedom they will see here is terrifying. Larry Clark has created a powerful defuser of traditional adolescent fantasies. It is an extraordinary lesson in self-destruction that needs no explanation from adults. Feed it to them straight, all of them. PG-13.

Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 498
Studio : Excalibur Films
Rating : NR
Running Time: 1h35m

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