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Time Out says
Could first-time screenwriter Noel Clarke (an actor, last seen in ‘Dr Who’) cram any more sordid, spiralling misery into his slice-of-life script about schoolkids and street life in west London? Clarke and first-time director Menhaj Huda spin a frenetic story out of the lives of a group of 15-year-olds who attend the same west London comprehensive. There’s no need to recount here the manic ins and outs of Clarke’s busy plot other than to say that it’s defined by suicide, drugs, murder, unwanted pregnancy, casual sex, knives, guns, Yardies, bullying and fights. All of which certainly have their place in the kaleidoscope of experience of many young Londoners, but Clarke tries so hard to shoehorn every potential teenage pitfall into his overloaded screenplay that the effect is numbing, barely credible and sometimes quite laughable.
That said, ‘Kidulthood’ still tears along at a good pace (aided by music from The Streets, Shystie, Dizzee Rascal and other UK artists), never bores, and has a certain novelty value: the real language and habits of our capital’s streets hardly ever make it to the big screen. The film’s ultimate downfall, though, is that its makers’ hunger for authenticity means that it’s all about events, events, events. Sober characterisation and plotting fall by the wayside. The film’s adult characters are especially two-dimensional (a cartoon Yardie; a posh father; a mother who shouts ‘Please use a condom’ through the bedroom door; a camp shop assistant). And what’s with the title? It sounds like a desperate youth-marketing tag. Or maybe I’m just not down with the kidults?