Kicks is 2016’s much darker version of Dope. Where the latter was filled to the brim with goofiness, the former portrays a kid’s struggle to be relevant in the grounded reality of poverty. About Brandon, a kid that dreams of owning a pair of Jordans, he finally saves up enough money to buy them. However, after a run in with a dealer, his pair is stolen and Brandon starts going to extreme measures to get them back.

The main draw to something like Kicks – or Dope – is the visual style: certain movies, you can just feel the director’s hand in every frame. And for the most part that is a good thing. For instance, the way this short 80-minute feature is broken up by hip-hop title cards – the songs both represent the narrative flow and a certain era of rap – aids the story. As the tension begins to get ratcheted up, the music gets a bit more hardcore, and while it is certainly heavy-handed, nothing about this film is subtle. It is an in-your-face story that tackles some hard topics, while also trying to be a coming-of-age tale. Full Review Here