Tribeca Review: The Kids (2021)

In the early 1990s, before New York City’s mass gentrification, a group of disparate youth venture outside their broken homes into the city’s brutal streets. United by skateboarding, they cultivate a family and build a unique lifestyle that inspires Larry Clark’s 1995 groundbreaking film, “Kids.” The crew become overnight commodities, thrust into the spotlight. Left adrift under the bright lights, some discover transcendent lives and careers, while others suffer fatal consequences.

The Kids is a documentary that’s not going to be easy to talk about and it’s definitely going to be hard to review as the documentary is very self explanatory, but I feel like this discussion needs to be talked about. Almost immediately when I saw this being confirmed for the Tribeca Film Festival I knew this was going to be one of the ones I’m going to watch. The documentary is about the actors and actresses who were in the controversial film and disturbing film that released in 1995 and how they were treated terribly, felt used and taken advantage of by Larry Clark. Before I say anything about the documentary…Kids will always be one of my favorite films of all time, it was one of my major influences of getting into photography and I really appreciate what it did for indie films back in the 90s. HOWEVER I am willing to call out disgusting behavior from directors who take advantage of people and treat them horribly like what Larry Clark did in this case (Harmony Korine isn’t much better either he never stood up for the cast and pretty much abandoned them as well) the documentary itself has Hamilton Harris and a lot of other cast members talking about what happened behind the scenes and so much more. It’s a very disturbing documentary that I almost guarantee will make you very angry and question why people were actively ignoring this. The documentary goes over the deaths of Justin Pierce (who won Best Debut Performance at the Spirit Awards in 1996) and Harold Hunter the lack of never reaching out to these kids to make sure they are okay or anyway trying to help is truly gross. The kids struggled to find work and Larry Clark did nothing to help them at all, Harris ultimately does find peace with Korine and Clark’s decision not to be interviewed in the documentary. A lot of the cast members now have families of their own (Harris included) but that doesn’t erase how disturbing this whole situation was. As far as filmmaking goes the documentary is nicely crafted with tons of information that you definitely need to know about the topic, it’s truly one of the best films so far this year. I truly hope this releases soon.

10/10 A+

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