Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Run Time: 1 hours 51 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer
Directed and co-written by Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar, Ratcatcher)
We Need to Talk About Kevin is a psychological thriller that will haunt you well after you view it. The premise is quite simple, and must rank up there as the most horrific of scenarios for any mother: What if your child was born to simply hate you? Not everybody else, just you. Meet Kevin.
Although it was a packed category, it is hard to believe that Tilda Swinton was not included among the Best Actress nominees at these past Academy Awards. She plays Eva, the mother of Kevin. She is married to her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly), and the three have a seemingly normal life.
But there is something about Kevin. From an incredibly young age - almost from birth, to be exact - Kevin stares at his mother Eva with a devilish glare. She is a loving mother, and tries desperately to get close with her child. The child is seemingly not interested in her love.
Told with a tremendous visual style and confidence, the movie cuts and flashes all over the place, but never to the point of confusion. The opening shot is of Eva, seemingly covered in blood in a crowded street orgy of sorts. The vision sticks with you throughout the film, and is relevant. The highly stylized cuts put you inside the head of Eva. If only we could get inside the head of Kevin.
Kevin is portrayed by three different actors, the toddler (Rock Duer), the young child (Jasper Newell), and the full-grown young adult (Ezra Miller). They are all effective, but Ezra Miller could have easily been up for awards as well. With comedic performances in his past - like his hilarious role as the food-fetish teen in City Island - he shows off an amazing range. If Hollywood is ever in need of a strange, psychopathic weirdo, Ezra Miller is the guy.
Kevin's goal in life seems to be to terrorize his mother. He does bad things to her. When dad comes home, he flips a switch and is a sweet, loving boy. Eva knows that there is something wrong with Kevin, but she has trouble convincing anybody else of the same.
Through these flash-forwards and flash-backs, we come to understand that in the current day, Kevin was responsible for a Columbine-like school shooting. The movie asks us if we think any one else may really be responsible. Eva knows the answer.
We Need to Talk About Kevin is upsetting, heart-wrenching, and downright scary. It is also a great film, one of my favorite films of the past year. Tilda Swinton's brilliance raises it to even greater heights, matched with the intense direction of Lynne Ramsay. It is definitely a film worth talking about.
Opens locally Friday, March 9th, 2012
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