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Customer Review

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film of power and beauty, 12 Dec 2004
This review is from: Kes [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
In the days before Ken Loach made obscure socalist parables he made this wonderfully accessible tale of childhood alienation in the North.
Billy (an astonishingly powerful performance by David Bradley) is a misfit at home and at school, a boy more drawn to the rugged Pennine landscape that surrounds his dreary hometown than to the drudgery of school and to the eventual horrors of working down the pit.
Billy's only friend is Kes - the young kestrel with whom he forms a real bond. Billy falls foul of brutal PE teacher Sugden (the legendary Brian Glover), but younger and more understanding Farthing (the equally excellent Colin Welland) realises that Billy has found his own variety of freedom, happiness and success.
Naturally for any "kitchen sink" drama, Billy's happiness cannot last and the prospect of a crushing non-future in the mines is all that's left to Billy...
Everything about this film is near-perfect. Cinematography, acting, direction, script, location, pacing. You really sense the freedom Billy craves in his relationship with Kes; the suffocating deadness of Barnsley contrasted with the beauty of the Yorkshire landscape; the casual brutality of the school system; the hopelessness of his environment.
And yet despite the ultimately bleak ending there is a grain of hope in the film - you can't take Billy's love of nature away from him, and even if the system tries to crush him there's always the magnificence of nature close by....
A wonderful and unmissable film.
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4.6 out of 5 stars (107 customer reviews)
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