Do you remember your first pair of sneakers? No, not the generic joints your mom bought you before 4th grade—I'm talking about the ones you bought for yourself for the first time. Remember that feeling? That mix of pride, maturity, floating, and the feeling that no one in the world can touch you. Yeah, it felt good, right? But what if someone stole that from you?
Kicks, the first feature film from director Justin Tipping, follows Brandon, a teen growing up in Oakland. He's a runt of a kid, and his mom's never been able to keep him laced with new kicks, so in a world of bigger kids and fresh Jordans, Brandon is relegated to the background, perpetually looked down on. Until he scratches together enough cash to buy a pair of 1s, the red and black ones. But just when he's starting to feel the unassailable power that a new pair of shoes brings, they're taken off his feet—physically—and the rest of the movie follows Brandon around Oakland as he tracks down those Jordans, entirely redefining who he is as a person in the process.
The movie, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival this year, is a bold statement from Tipping, flush with visual and soundtrack flourishes that enrapt and hypnotize. And as Brandon, Jahking Guillory delivers a compelling performance. But the strength of Kicks mostly lies in the questions it asks, about growing up, about the unfortunate underbelly of sneaker culture, and about what it means to be a man.
Kicks drops in theaters on Sept. 9. Until then, watch the trailer above over and over.