Film Clip: The Kid with a Bike

Rated 4.0

Sibling Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne bring their customary immediacy and unsentimental compassion to this naturalistic fable of an at-risk kid (Thomas Doret) who finds himself abandoned by his dad (Jérémie Renier) and taken in, practically at random, by a surrogate mom (Cécile De France). The magic of the Dardennes’ frugal style is an apparent detachment that gradually reveals itself as complete commitment. Long, nonchalantly attentive takes, punctuated only by a few choice bits of Beethoven, allow for a powerful and welcome clarity of human expression. This lithe and solemnly kinetic little-blond-boy hero seems like an obverse of Spielberg’s depthless The Adventures of Tintin; his story is conveyed through rivetingly decisive moments of indignant determination, guileless self-deception, and touchingly credible moral reckoning.