Reviewed By Filmnet
Posted 10/20/00 15:52:25

"An enjoyable little Aussie flick."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

"The manly thing is being done" is the Lawley College school motto where Matt Grant (Page) is 'rugby legend', school captain and all round popular guy. But Matt has a secret - he loves to dance, something he has been suppressing for some time but which he cannot hold in any longer. After being cast in the lead of a dance production of "Romeo and Juliet", he threatens his position in the order of things as he leads a double life with the help of best mate, Tom (Henderson).

Juggling school, rugby, a painful girlfirend (Mitchell) and the heavy demands of the choreographer (Mercurio) and his Juliet (Andrews), Matt is close to breaking point, and when a rival student and nosey school teacher uncover his secret, he must make a decision - to follow his passion or follow the crowd.

"Kick" is an enjoyable film, with the plot being quite credible, characters likeable production values high. Similar to what one could call its 'feminine' counterpart, "Looking for Alibrandi", it has what I would call a 'world' film quality to it and is in no way parochial in an Australian sense. Also, like "Alibrandi", it covers issues such as the class divide, pressures of the final year of school and first love - although it diverges from covering ethnic/cultural displacement as in "Alibrandi", and instead goes into what it is to be a 'true man' in the move from adolesence to adulthood.

The only real let down script wise was the romance and its key placement at the climax, which detracted somewhat from Matt's personal triumph. I also found it rather odd that the other characters were all so self absorbed that none of them, with the exception of Tom, took the time to try and talk Matt's life out with him...and that a true choreographer would put up with Matt's apparent lack of discipline no matter how good a dancer he was. But the storyline carried itself well for the most and I was drawn nicely into the drama/comedy elements...with something close to a tear being shed in the performance scene at the Opera House.

Unfortunately, the performances were for the most rather lukewarm. Whereas both Grant and Yates carried themselves off well dance wise, neither really offered enough emotional depth (and in my opinion Grant seemed too old for the role) to their characters and I was not drawn to their particular plights. Mitchell as Matt's nagging girlfriend Tamara pitched the role just a little too high, and ended up somewhat clichéd and overplayed.

The actor to watch out for though was Henderson. He seemed very comfortable in the role of Tom and on screen generally, possibly because he has had quite a lot of TV and film experience - I am sure we will see more of him in the future. Spartels although in a smaller role is also worthy of mention for his warm and supportive portrayal as Matt's father.

I couldn't dig up any information on a release date for "Kick", but I would recommend it as a fairly light and mostly enjoyable watch (look out for the cameo by a certain "Blue Heeler's" actor who has since changed his name!)...and more importantly, a sign that Australians can indeed write solid and marketable feature films.

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