The Kid With A Bike
Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot details we can't reveal in our review.
I could only be vague about what happens in the second half of The Kid With A Bike that gives it such a strong moral component, but now I can be more specific here. In his search for a father figure, Cyril gets taken in by a local tough who seems to make a habit of adopting lost boys and employing them for his criminal purposes. In Cyril's case, all it takes is a can of Fanta and an afternoon’s session of Assassin’s Creed on PS3 to win him the sort of devotion that Samantha’s many kindnesses have failed to muster. When Cyril agrees to carry out a scheme to knock a newspaper carrier in the head with a baseball bat and take all his cash, he touchingly shows no interest in splitting a share of the money—he just wants to make his new father-figure happy.
When Cyril actually does go through with the plan, he winds up sending both the carrier and the carrier’s son to the hospital, and his new friend predictably peels off and threatens him harm if he ever rats him out to the police. That leaves Cyril to conclude, finally, that Samantha is enough of a family for him and she agrees to take him in, but not before the boy turns himself into the police and receives his punishment. In a formal meeting, Samantha agrees to pay the carrier restitution for lost wages and Cyril humbly apologies to him, but the carrier explains that his son refused to come to the meeting because he didn’t forgive him.
That leaves one loose narrative thread that ties up brutally in the final stretch, when the carrier’s son chases Cyril off his bike and through the woods, where Cyril attempts to climb a tree to escape but is knocked down when his pursuer throws a rock at him. As Cyril lies prone on the ground, the other kid calls his father to the spot and the father tells him that if Cyril has died from the fall, they will claim that the boy fell from the tree in order for the carrier’s son to be spared any responsibility in his death.
Though Cyril survives the fall, the carrier’s desire for self-preservation puts him on shaky moral footing. Where once he was the victim of Cyril's brutal attack, he has now been pushed into a situation where he was willing to lie and cover up in order to protect his way of life. Cyril's decision just to walk away from the scene, rather than wait for the ambulance, is a moment of extreme generosity and grace.