Sunday, 25 November 2012

REVIEW - KAUWBOY


A tender sincerity and sympathy for its protagonist make Kauwboy a uniformly moving experience throughout, such that the film's predictability and the familiarity of many of its scenes and motifs are of less importance than the intent that drives them, and lingers into the next scene, and the next. Screenwriters Jolein Laarman and Boudewijn Koole, who also directs, exhibit a clear sensitivity for the pre-pubescent Jojo, whose relationships with a baby jackdaw and a girl he meets at water polo practice, respectively, are born out of requirement, due to the death of his mother and his father's inevitable mental instability, but allow him to begin to mature personally. Moments of conflict abound, and their depiction is devoid of much originality in content, or flourish of style, but if this clears a route for their emotional clout to directly access the hearts and minds of viewers, then this is certainly for the better. The ending is optimistic, nudging at the line at which it might become unreasonably so, but its detour from the preceding mood is only minor, and the focus remains on the psychological impact of the central relationships on each involved party, which is handled with subtlety, clarity and notable humanism. Young Rick Lens is delightfully astute as Jojo, and gives an unambiguous performance that succinctly dispels the notion that it is never the young actor who is responsible for the quality of their work, but their director, although Koole can be faulted for very little in this film, if anything. An enjoyable, affecting slip of a film, in the end - it treads no new ground, but treads old ground with grace and feeling.