Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Four young boys—two pairs of brothers between the ages of nine and eleven—running wild in the Welsh hills one summer in the 1970s. They swim in the streams, fish (by hand), and sift through owl pellets for kicks. But this idyllic, innocent time comes to an abrupt end when a shocking act of violence leaves two of the lads orphaned. The children’s fate is now in the hands of social services and the police, but Davy refuses to allow his two best friends to be taken into care and persuades them to run off…
Many filmmakers have taken up rites-of-passage as a fitting subject for their first feature, but writer-director Jon Jones has created something exceptionally hard-edged here, a movie that stands somewhere between Kes and Stand by Me in its unsentimental child’s-eye-view of tragedy and trauma, friendship and love. What’s striking here, aside from the utterly convincing performances by the kids, is how the adult world’s understandable instinct to protect the children becomes another form of oppression and unwitting menace. A memorable and unusual film.