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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • French DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Conversation between film critic Kent Jones and directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
  • Interviews with actors Cécile de France and Thomas Doret
  • Return to Seraing, a half-hour documentary in which the Dardennes revisit five locations from the film
  • Trailer

The Kid With a Bike

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Starring: Thomas Doret, , , Fabrizio Rongione, Egon Di Mateo, Olivier Gourmet
2011 | 87 Minutes | Licensor: Sundance Selects

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #646
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: February 12, 2013
Review Date: February 9, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

Twelve-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), all coiled anger and furious motion, is living in a group home but refuses to believe he has been rejected by his single father (Jérémie Renier). He spends his days frantically trying to reach the man, over the phone or on his beloved bicycle. It is only the patience and compassion of Samantha (Cécile de France), the stranger who agrees to care for him, that offers the boy the chance to move on. Spare and unsentimental but deeply imbued with a heart-rending tenderness, The Kid with a Bike is an arresting work from the great Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, masters of the empathetic action film.

Forum members rate this film 6.5/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s The Kid with a Bike comes to Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this dual-layer disc in a new high-definition digital transfer delivered in 1080p/24hz.

Only a couple of years old the film comes off looking exceptional on the format. Colours are bright and bold with brilliant reds and blues, and black levels are very strong with crushing never coming off as a real issue. Skin tones can come off a bit yellow but this could be intended. The image is consistently sharp delivering a high level of detail in every scene. Artifacts aren’t a concern, the picture retaining a film-like look, and it also handles the quick action and motions that occur throughout the picture in a clean and natural manner. The source used for the transfer, a 35mm interpositve, is also in pristine condition and I don’t recall a single mark during its entire running time.

It’s a newer film so I was expecting it to look good, but Criterion has still managed to exceed my expectations and have delivered a stunning, and incredibly sharp transfer.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film comes with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track which is surprisingly robust. There’s actually quite a bit of activity going on with effects and music filling out the environment effectively. The film’s score is especially crisp, with impressive dynamic range, and there are some creative placements of the sound effects, like the ring of a cell phone during an important part of the film. Audio quality is excellent, with dialogue delivered in a clear and concise manner.

It’s an especially surprising mix, far more active and creative than I would have expected, especially after the more disappointing surround tracks featured on Criterion’s releases of two of the Dardennes’ previous films, La promesse and Rosetta.

8/10

SUPPLEMENTS

It looks like a slim line-up of supplements but Criterion has delivered some strong material for this release. Similar to their releases of the Dardennes’ La promesse and Rosetta we get another lengthy interview between the directors and film critic Kent Jones, this time at around 73-minutes. Jones, jumping between French and English, asks the two about The Kid with a Bike and the two go over the development process behind it (they were influenced by a story they heard in Japan back in 2002) which continued on to when they were actually filming. They also cover their working method and how it’s hard to stop once they get going, calling their work together a “machine in motion,” talk about the actors (particularly young Thomas Doret,) and then talk about the various themes within the film. The conversation is almost as long as the film but it’s incredibly engaging and the directors never manage to repeat themselves. A fantastic inclusion and certainly worthwhile.

Looking to come from another release from another region of the film, we get a 19-minute interview with Cécile de France, who plays Samantha in the film. She covers how she came to join the cast, what it was like working with the Dardennes, who refused to give her any background to the character, and how she worked out the character on her own (she even styled her own hair.) She also talks about her young co-star and recalls her own career when she was Doret’s age. There is also a short 6-minute interview with Thomas Doret recorded by Criterion, with the actor (his voice now much lower) recalling how he came to be cast and the general craziness of what it was like working on his first film. He’s also thankful for the help he got from the other actors on set, who made it easier to figure out what the directors probably wanted from him.

Somewhat disappointing is the final big feature, Return to Seraing, which features the Dardenne brothers returning to five key locations of the film: the medical office, the newsstand, the woods, the hair salon, and the restaurant. Though they share some interesting anecdotes and technical details about shooting at these locations, the two basically just reenact how they shot specific scenes in these settings and recalling how the set looked at the time. The feature runs 33-minutes.

The disc then closes with the film’s American theatrical trailer. Geoff Andrew then provides an essay on the film in the provided booklet.

It doesn’t look like a lot of material but the three interviews, specifically the interview with the two directors, are fantastic additions. A nice, modest collection of material.

7/10

CLOSING

With a modest but satisfying number of supplements and a stunning audio/video presentation, Criterion’s Blu-ray of The Kid with a Bike comes with a high recommendation for those looking to own the film on home video.


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