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Kisses

Submitted by admin on July 29, 2010 – 9:11 pmNo Comment
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Make no mistake, Kisses will leave you devastated in a good way. A singular experience, this Irish film unfolds like a fairy tale, and in the manner of Grimm the tale doesn’t end with a treacle taste but a bittersweet aftertaste. Kisses, even though it comes from 2008, should be on your must see list of films in 2010. There’s profundity sure, but there’s also the beauty of pure cinema.

Next-door neighbors, Kylie (Kelly O’Neill) and Dylan (Shane Curry) are both abused pre-pubescent kids, each in their own manner. Within the first half-reel circumstances dictate they run away on a day during the Christmas holidays. The streets of Dublin become their home during the next day.

The characters are portrayed realistically so even though we see things from the eyes of children the images are exact and on rare occasion brutal. Two or three times Kisses moves into actions sequences – escaping from the second story window on a perilous ladder, or a sequence where Dyan’s dragged by a car through alleys and byways – and the editing as well as style, concise and informative, lets us know we’re in the hands of a filmmaker to watch. Lance Daly wrote and directed Kisses and he has the touch of a director able to capture the bigger picture.

Kisses unwinds in a dour black-and-white that features barren landscapes and rows of generic houses. It gives Kisses a gritty 400 Blows integrity. Once, a small Irish film from a few years back also comes to mind, but that is stretching. When the kids run away the film slowly starts to bleed color, first in a de-saturated way and then dark and cool colors all at night, some neon, on the streets of Dublin. There’s some scary places Kisses travels as well as lyrical interludes that leave you perplexed. Since the boy is named Dylan the duo run into Bob Dylan imitators, and the soundtrack rolls out some cool Blood on the Tracks-era background music.

Daly has tapped into something that evokes memories and emotions in a startling way. Even though the story ends fading to black-and-white and potential tragedy the mood is undeniable uplifting.

- Michael Bergeron

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