Kerrie Hayes is a young Liverpudlian actress I've admired for a bit now, largely thanks to her heartfelt performance in the Channel 4 drama The Mill, a role which has seen her rightfully gain herself a BAFTA nomination though sadly not a win (well, when you're up against the likes of Olivia Colman...)
The 2009 film Kicks features another impressive turn from the young Ms Hayes, though it's a radically different part than the feisty mill worker Esther Price.
Hayes plays Nicole, an introverted, lonely but attractive schoolgirl who, because there's nothing else in her life, develops an unhealthy crush on a top Liverpool footballer played (with suitable reptilian sleaze) by Jamie Doyle. One day she meets Jasmine an equally celeb loving though more knowing teen played by Nichola Burley and together the pair start to hang around Anfield, city nightclubs and even the footballer's home in the hopes of catching a glimpse or even meeting the man.
But you must always be careful what you wish for and when their pin up announces he will leave the club to sign for a Spanish team, the girls desires become all the more real and frighteningly intense.
The directorial film debut of Lindy Heymann from a script by Leigh Campbell, Kicks taps into what has become a rich vein for low budget indie movies; the coming of age adolescent female friendships. As in other examples from this genre, the passion and potency that has become channeled into one obsession quickly sours and develops into a darkly psychological, sexy and sinister, twisted tale. Cleverly, Heymann and Campbell explore the present infatuation with celebrity, both from the inside and out as the too much too soon reprehensible lifestyle of highly paid sports stars is just as represented as the WAG aspirations and teenage insecurities of our female leads.
Running at just 80 minutes, Kicks is literally short and to the point aided by some truly eyecatching performances from Hayes and Burley and a hazy misty almost unreal eye for Liverpool's urban cityscapes. Broadcast on BBC2 late Saturday/Sunday morning, it's kudos to the channel for showing this at a time when the dubious morality and far from clean living lifestyles of premiership footballers are very much in the public eye.