Case Number 20079: Small Claims Court


Oscilloscope // 2008 // 78 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // November 10th, 2010

The Charge

One kiss can change everything.

The Case

Lance Daly's little indie drama Kisses is an extraordinary viewing experience. A heartfelt story of two youngsters trying to escape the problems they face at home, the film boasts incredibly subtle storytelling and two compelling characters that will have spectators instantly root for them. Kisses never got the big theatrical run it really deserved after screening at numerous festivals and picking up universal critical acclaim, but the movie is now finally available on DVD. I can only recommend you give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.

The film's plot is pretty straightforward. The story introduces us to Dylan (Shane Curry) and Kylie (Kelly O'Neill), two kids living next door to each other in a small Dublin suburb. They both have big trouble at home with their aggressive parents, and they both need a break from all the yelling and the occasional beating. Presented with an opportunity to make a run for it, Dylan and Kylie team up to run away from home and spend the night wandering the streets of Dublin. They quickly realize they aren't prepared for what they are about to experience.

This marks the beginning of a superb adventure of two individuals striving for a change of lifestyle. Unaware of what they've gotten themselves into, Dylan and Kylie take it one step at a time, getting a feel for the city as they walk around and discover a new world without anybody breathing down their neck. Free from their abusive parents, the two friends start to see the world they live in from a different angle. With only a limited amount of cash in their pockets, they both must rely on their own instincts and the strangers they encounter if they want to last for more than just a few hours.

Kisses is first and foremost a story about discovery, focusing on two children as they get an extensive glimpse of what life is really like out there. With no one at their side to protect them, they are completely on their own, which is why some challenge they face are far more complex to overcome than others. A big city at night is not exactly a safe haven for two youngsters making their way through little dark alleys, and as the night progresses, the scares become more frequent. Whether it's the cold, the hunger and the sudden appearance of bizarre strangers, Dylan and Kylie have a lot to process.

Daly uses his characters and their adventure as a vehicle to take his audience on a journey straight into the heart of Dublin, and the result is truly engaging. On top of that, the differences in personality between Dylan and Kylie creates an interesting relationship that raises the film's overall dramatic effect. They both encounter numerous surprises they have to deal with accordingly, and we spectators never know what they're in for next. It's an unpredictable journey we want to be part of until the very end.

The film greatly benefits from great acting, and Daly saw hundreds of kids before making his choice. Curry and O'Neill are phenomenal in the lead roles; they easily inject the film with heart and intensity. They're both energetic and handle their characters extremely well, which boosts the movie's level of reality and maintains an authentic atmosphere audiences will be drawn to in an instant.

As a bonus, Kisses is beautifully shot, boasting strong colors that make it all even more attractive to watch. Speaking of colors and cinematography, the DVD of the film comes with an beautiful 2.35:1 widescreen transfer. Most of the film takes place at night, but even the dark shots look crisp and the image is sharp throughout. Kudos also to the sound department, because the audio transfer delivers the goods.

In terms of extras, the disc features an engaging audio commentary with the two actors, who despite their age, bring a lot of interesting information to the table. Also included are some funny outtakes, as well as a featurette focusing on the production of the flick.

Kisses is a marvel. Although such a simple little film, the depth of its story and the unique characters provide tons of material for long discussions. Filled with heart, suspense, great acting, and excellent technical aspects, Daly's feature is one you shouldn't miss at any cost. A must-see!

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 89

Perp Profile
Studio: Oscilloscope
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* English

Running Time: 78 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary
* Featurette
* Outtakes

* IMDb