Written and directed by Lance Daly, Kisses is one of those little enjoyable gems that had its main leads breathe life to a fairly simple plot of a road movie of sorts, set around Christmas in the streets of Dublin, following the adventures of two children Dylan (Shane Curry) and Kylie (Kelly O'Neill), neighbours who decide to run away from their dreadful family members, and spiteful peers with whom they cannot clique.
Told in three main acts and bookended by black and white cinematography used to highlight the bleakness of their family lives full of constant bickering, violence, and an unspeakable act which will be revealed, these two loner kids find some common ground to want to escape together to the big unknown, with nary a clue and only a wad of cash which they bust on material goods.
Like a typical road movie, the people they meet become episodic scenes in which the film got made up of, some extended, like the friendly boat man they meet early in their adventures, right down to the seedy kidnappers who take a fancy at Kylie, either for personal pleasure or for some money making scheme, and some fleeting, such as the surreal chancing of a Bob Dylan lookalike (played by Stephen Rea). It's a spectrum of the nice and the nasties, and the duo have only each other to help look out for, while trying to search for Dylan's long longs brother with whom they hope will take them in.
It's a somewhat short feature film that becomes something like a travelogue where we get to see both the glitzier side of Dublin, and the stark nakedness of its grit, from unsavoury back alleys, to sub-urban neighbourhoods as we follow the kids in their attempt to survive on their own. Being short in run time, it managed to hold your attention throughout thanks to the wonderfully charismatic performances by the child actors Shane Curry and Kelly O'Neill, especially the latter as the vulnerable yet spunky Kylie who's more street smart than the dazed Dylan, and its indeed a wonder how she can actually fall for him.
One of my personal favourite scenes would be the ending, with its surreal like moments in slow motion, and the wry smile that both of them exchange, in acknowledging their relationship is now at a different plane, coupled with that tinge of mischief that they've had quite an adventure and had a good run. While being very foul mouthed, I thought the parting shot was oh-so-sweet, that it made you want more, just like how Kisses in the film got explained as something to be given or taken, with that desire and craving to go at it all over again.
Don't be put off by the thick Irish accent, as the film comes with English subtitles so that you can follow the humour, and adventures of two kids on the run from weariness, for that adventure of a lifetime. Recommended!