We gave Kicks the Poster of the Day treatment back in April, when it was set to debut at Tribeca, and based on that poster I made the following guess as to the movie’s tone:
“A little bit quirky, a little dark, a little gritty … but still adventurous and spacey.”
Well, the first trailer has arrived, and it’s much easier on the “quirky” and “spacey” elements, and much heavier on the darkness and grit. And that’s not bad. I suppose, in my mind, I had presumed this would be a slightly more dramatic take on the somewhat similar, “hood misadventures” movie Dope, but Kicks looks to be striking a more serious tone, based on this trailer. The lead in Kicks, similar to the lead in Dope, has a pair of best friends, is something of an outcast, isn’t one of the neighborhood toughs, gets roughed up for his shoes and eventually takes to the streets to take back something important to him, so it’s not like the comparison is inapt. Kicks, however, gives its lead character almost a young black Travis Bickle vibe in this trailer.
The astronaut from the poster doesn’t represent any sort of quirkiness, he’s sort of the lead’s alter-ego, and a visual metaphor for his desire to fly away to someplace where he can’t be reached. Eventually, though, that alter-ego gets grounded, and the spaceman ends up escorting our armed protagonist, Brandon, down a red-lighted hallway as he seems ready to reclaim the stolen objects of his affection by force. Because Brandon believes that he “can’t be a man” if he lets another claim what’s his, even if they’re just some damn shoes that aren’t really worth dying for. They are, of course, more than just shoes, at least to him. They “cost a lot,” Brandon says, but he’s not talking about money. The space man is a metaphor for escapist fantasy, but the titular expensive kicks represent this particular young man’s pride.
I really enjoyed Dope. I get the feeling that I’ll like this even more. Kicks comes to theaters on September 9th. Read more about it at KicksTheFilm.com.