Film Review: We Need to Talk about Kevin

| 10 November , 2011 | Reply

Directed By: Lynne Ramsay
Staring: Tilda Swinton, John C Reilly, Ezra Miller
Sassi\’s Star Rating: 5/5

Tilda Swinton is untouchable in Lynne Ramsey\’s haunting psychological horror film We Need to Talk about Kevin.

Swinton plays Eva, a woman struggling to navigate the life left for her after her son commits a Columbine style atrocity at his high school. Told through flashbacks and memories, Ramsay beautifully pieces together the events leading up to the tragedy as Eva struggles to understand her son\’s actions.

An apathetic mother, depressed and isolated; Eva unexpectedly finds herself pregnant with a child she never really wanted. Eva gives up her successful career as a travel agent, her busy life in New York, and her first love: travel. As Kevin grows, so too does Eva\’s disenfranchisement. Kevin is a problem child; selectively unresponsive and unwilling to learn. The doctors assure Eva that he will grow out of it; but when we see him at the age of fifteen: we realise that they couldn\’t have been more wrong.

This loose adaptation of Lionel Shriver\’s award winning novel is a masterfully composed mess of swirling loyalties and moral philosophising.  How much is Eva to blame for raising a son capable of such brutality, or was there nothing more the tormented mother could do when her husband (Reilly) would rather think she is crazy than believe the warnings she gives about her son? Ramsey has us constantly questioning whether Kevin is some type of toddler demon spawn or just a child raised in the absence of love; and she\’s not going to give us an easy answer.

We Need to Talk about Kevin resonates with you for days after you leave the cinema. Swinton is outstanding as a once fiery redhead now trapped in a tortuous purgatory of memory and blame, and young Ezra Miller is chilling as her teenage son yearning for attention. This film is superbly made with stunning cinematography by Seamus McGarvey and an expertly designed sound-scape that melds children screaming, police sirens, and George Michael into a beautiful trauma worth experiencing in surround sound.

A must see for all cinemaphiles: but bring a friend. You\’ll need someone to talk about We Need to Talk about Kevin with afterwards.

We Need to Talk about Kevin is in cinemas now.


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