Nono, a Dutch kid lacking two days being thirteen, runs away from problems at home and, disguised as a girl, takes up with the world's cleverest thief, who unbeknownst to Nono, may hold the bizarre key to his true identity.
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Nono wants to be like his father - the best police inspector in the world - but he constantly gets in trouble. Two days before his Bar Mitzvah, he is sent away to his uncle Sjmoel, who is supposed to get him back on track. However, during the train ride Nono gets one last chance to prove himself... Together with master-burglar Felix Glick - an old acquaintance of his father - he stops the train and enters a world of disguises, chases, French chansons and Zohara, a mysterious woman whose secrets will change Nono's life forever. Written by
Brilliant coming-of-age movie will delight adults and kids alike
The Zigzag Kid" (2012 release from the Netherlands and Belgium; 91 min.) brings the story of Nono, a young boy who is just 2 days shy of his 13th birthday and along with it, his Bar Mitzvah. Nono's dad is Jacob, the best police inspector in the whole world. Jacob is teaching his son the tricks of the trade, in hopes that Nono will follow in his footsteps. Yet Nono gets in trouble a lot too, so much so that Jacob is about to send Non away to live with his stern Uncle Sjmoel. In a parallel story line, we learn that Nono's mom Zohara died when he was only 1 year old, and all he has left of her is a picture. Jacob, whose 'secretary' Gaby is really his girlfriend, has always been very reluctant to say much about that time, and Nono wants to find out the truth. As Nono gets on the train to go to his uncle, he receives a mysterious letter that gives him chance to do so. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, I was completely unprepared for the utter brilliance of this movie, which brings a mixture of a coming-of-age story, with zany capers and wacky adventures, along with a boy's longing his for long deceased mom. It is all done with the most subtle of touches, and surely Belgian director (and co-writer) Vincent Bal can take a lot of credit for this. Second, the movie is set in the mid/late 1960s, and I was very impressed with the production set, which is immaculate from start to finish. Check out all of the vintage cars (I love those old Peugots and Citroens)! This is also reflected in the original movie score (by Thomas de Prins), which is patterned after the sound of that era. Third, the acting performances are stellar throughout, none more so than young Thomas Simon in the title role. as he brings the perfect mix of charm, wonderment and being bewildered. Check out as well Isabella Rossellini in the smaller role of the mysterious lounge singer Lola.
I saw this movie at the 2014 Jewish & Israeli Film Festival here in Cincinnati, where it played to an enchanted crowd of adults, teenagers and younger children. This movie is rated PG, and I'd say this is one of the best "family" movies I have seen in a long time, where everyone from age 7 to 77 is sure to enjoy this from start to finish. If you are in the mood for a top notch foreign movie that will delight you in the most unexpected way, "The Zigzag Kid" is a can't-miss. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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