Saturday, 3 July 2010

Review: Kes

Kes is a wonderful British-film that was released in 1969, based on the classic book: A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines (I think its a very well-written and structured book), however what I really like about Kes, is its strong narrative and the characters' personalities are just perfect even though its very unpleasant.
Directed by Ken Loach who also directed Cathy Come Home at the time, and when Loach adapted the rights, Barry Hines wanted the film to be as close as the book and not to be turned into a Walt Disney and his pet type story.
However, the plot focuses on a rather very skinny (skinny as a rake) 16 year-old named Billy Casper from Barnsley, Yorkshire, who has an older brother named Judd who treats him like hell and is a very horrible brother you can imagine, and Billy lived with his rather in a poor-conditioned house with his brother and mother, and the mother never cared for her two sons, and the father ran away from home years ago.
Billy had a very difficult life and he was weeks from finishing school, and was already in hope of becoming a 'coal miner' and he was really not looking forward at 'going down pit'. However, he had no interests and he could be better off dead, but all that turns around when he finds a kestrel (bird) in its nest, and then found himself with an interest, and has a wonderful relationship in training the kestrel and flying with the bird as a hobby, and he has hopes that his life will turn round, and for the first time, Billy received praise from his English teacher, Mr. Farthing (Colin Welland; wrote screenplay for Chariots of Fire), and one day when his older brother, Judd asked him to place a bet on a horse, but Billy didn't think the horse would win so he bought fish 'n chips, but the hose did win! Judd, furious, kills Billy's kestrel, and the film sadly ends with Billy's life back to normal and a horrible life.
A rather strong and emotional story and its tragic ending, and its just a storyline like a boy finds a hobby for the first time and then at the end it goes back to normal.
However, there are some comedy parts like the PE teacher named, Mr. Sudgen (Brian Glover), and he was really funny because during their football game, he thought he was as good as old legendary footballers like Denis Law or Bobby Charlton, and it wasn't true, and he was rubbish. However, Billy Casper had to be in goal and he was worthless at football, and when he missed the ball, there was a scene of where Billy Casper was climbing on the goal posts, and it was quite funny to watch!
Sorry for giving away the main parts, but you should really watch the film on DVD, haven't seen it? GET IT here! When it first came out in 1969 in England, it had its success, and at times, the book A Kestrel for a Knave was one of the books that schools had to read it, and I first read it earlier this year and I really liked it, and I can't tell which is better, the book or the film! They're both great and I can't say which is better.
POSTER: A very good poster line, and very much overlooked!

Many of the actors from Kes, never did anything else afterwards, I mean the main star of the film who played Billy (David Bradley) hardly did anything afterwards, and the only people who seemed to have continued afterwards were Colin Welland (who went on to write the screenplay and win an Oscar in Chariots of Fire) and British actor, Brian Glover. About all the actors in Kes, had never been on a motion picture before, and it was their first and only time in the screen, since Barry Hines wrote in his Afterword in my book of a Kestrel for a Knave that he wanted a low budget, no stars, no sex or no violence.
However, Kes I think has to be my all-time favourite film even though after its tragic ending, however there have been debates that in America the film should be subtitled because they couldn't understand their English accent, and I think the film is just as good as the film should be.
Kes has found itself in vogue at times and I think that in the future it could happen again!
Billy Casper will live-on!


Eric Noble said...

Interesting. I will have to check this film out. There are so many films I must see before I die.

Steven Hartley said...

You ought to, its a GREAT film, and although there was debates in America about having it subtitled but...I think the film is the way its supposed to be!!

Its an independent British film.