The story is quite simple. It starts with a car crash. Leo, an 11 year old boy watches the aftermath of the police clearing up the mess. From one of the police cars he steals a policeman's hat. The next day he shows the hat to his friend Mike at school. The hat is stolen from them by an older boy who throws the it onto the school roof. Leo and Mike find their way onto the roof to recover the hat. On the roof Leo offers to give the hat to Mike if he will take part in a practical joke. Specifically Mike has to pretend to stab Leo in a staged fight outside of a football match. Leo acquires some fake blood from the school drama department to make the stabbing look real. However during the practical joke Mike accidentally stabs Leo for real or possibly Leo pulls the knife into himself on purpose. We never find out which is the truth. Leo is taken to hospital and Mike goes on the run. The rest of the film concerns the rather bizarre interaction between Leo and the police who come to question him and the even more bizarre situations that Mike gets himself into.
There is a great deal about this film that doesn't make much sense and it's hard to get inside the motivations of the characters. Exactly why Leo wants to stage his own fake stabbing isn't at all clear. Even the character of Mike asks him in the film why they are doing it to which Leo doesn't give much of an explanation. The way the police hang around the hospital for hours doesn't make much sense either. While on the run Mike runs into a rather nihilistic character called Ken who takes Mike to a night club. Later Ken steals a car and takes Mike joy riding. Ken is another character whose behaviour was very hard to understand. Exactly what his interest is in hanging around with an 11 year old boy on the run isn't exactly apparent. Why Ken almost commits suicide later by jumping off of the roof of a bus can only be described as baffling.
There was much in this film that seemed unnecessary and the whole film would have benefited from being considerably shorter. For example I wasn't at all sure why the whole scene in the Chinese restaurant was included. Again the motivation of the characters was also confusing. Ken takes Mike for a meal he doesn't have the money to pay for. He then walks out without eating any of it leaving Mike on his own. Mike manages to escape through the kitchens and Ken picks him up outside in the stolen car. The whole scene can again only be described as baffling.
Having said all that there are some fantastic elements to this film. Visually some of it was very beautiful. The scene of the two boys on the school roof was exquisitely shot. The overall atmosphere of the film is odd and unnerving. It portrays a frightening after dark urban landscape in which a disaffected youth run wild. Of all the characters Leo in particular is unsettling. He is able to lie with total ease to anyone including the police and speaks with the articulacy of an adult. There are very few moments in the film where he shows any emotion at all and yet there is a sense that there is something quite disturbing going on under the surface. It seems initially that Leo has deeply betrayed Mike be telling the police a stack of lies and putting all the blame onto him. However at the end the two boys remain friends. Leo explains that he did it to give Mike what he wanted. We can only assume he thinks Mike wanted to feel dangerous and enjoyed being chased by the police. It's hard to interpret this film in any one simplistic way however.
A hugely important element of this film was the music score. It has to be said that it was fantastic and inspired. Much of it was of a very emotionally intense thriller/horror genre. However the truly inspired aspect was setting much of the film to spaghetti western music that wouldn't have sounded out of place in a Sergio Leone movie. It gave the film a very dramatic and exciting feel. There doesn't seem to be any obvious reason for using this music but it works perfectly.
The final scene of the two boys walking through the chaos they have caused in the hospital by setting off the fire alarm is quite breath taking. The ending shot is of both of them lighting up a cigarette and staring off detachedly into the distance completely unconcerned about any of the trouble they have caused. Leo had already explained to Mike that as 11 year old boys they would get away with it all.
Exactly what the message this film was trying to give isn't at all clear but I have to say for all it's faults it's a genuinely unique film. Bloody Kids reminds us that all the fears that we have about modern youth in Britain today are hardly new and although dated in style it is as relevant today as it was then.
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