Kids Run – Film Review

Written and directed by Barbara Ott, Kids Run is a gritty German drama film that tells the story of Andi (Jannis Niewöhner), a struggling father who enters an amateur boxing competition to pay of his debts, keep custody of his children and win back his ex-girlfriend.

Andi is the father of three children from two different mothers; the two oldest children are from a previous relationship with a lady named Isabel (Carol Schuler) and the youngest child is from his most recent relationship with Sonja (Lena Tronina) who Andi is trying to win back. Andi spends his time working as a labourer and dropping of his kids to school or to spending time with their mothers. Andi can be aggressive towards his children and his ex-girlfriends, but at the end of the day he wants what is best for him and his family.

Andi is several months behind in his rent so he borrows money from Sonja who reluctantly gives him the money but she tells him that if he doesn’t pay her back by the end of the month, then she won’t let him see his daughter. Andi begins to work some extra jobs to make some money, but he also decides to participate in an amateur boxing competition to win the money to pay her back. His life soon becomes a mix of dropping his kids off at school, working various odd jobs and training for the boxing competition with his motivation to have a better life for him and his family, to keep custody of his youngest child and to win Sonja back.

The first thing that I have to say about this movie is that it is very dark. Even though Andi is the protagonist of the movie, there are some moments of the film where he is shown that he can be violent and aggressive towards his children and to Sonja as well. Every character in the film lives a bleak life and is messed up in their own way, which can make the film unpleasant to watch at times; such as a scene where Andi leaves his kids at home one night to look after themselves but he returns home to a lot noise, one of his kids has the radio turned up loud, Andi violently throws the radio against the wall and yells at his son. But it turns out that he turned the radio up because the youngest child was crying and he didn’t want the neighbours to hear a baby crying. There is also another scene where his son is loading his dinner plate with food but when he doesn’t like the food, Andi forces him to eat the food. So during my viewing, I did spend most of the film feeling sorry for his children.

Andi isn’t always mean though. As the film progresses, he does have some loving moments with his kids and you can tell that he does love and care about them. However, the heart-warming moments in this film are very few and far between.

Kids Run will be available to watch as part of the Sydney Film Festival between the 10th and the 21st of June 2020.
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