A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin explores the factious relationship between a mother and her son. Tilda Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller). Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, We Need to Talk About Kevin explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva’s own culpability is measured against Kevin’s innate evilness. – (C) Oscilloscope
|Date||Jun 8, 2012|
|Tags||Drama, John C. Reilly, Thriller, Tilda Swinton, We need to talk About Kevin.|
Written By: Jacob Golba
We Need to Talk About Kevin is a film about a demon child, but not in the same way as Damian in The Omen series. Though there is nothing supernatural about Kevin (Ezra Miller) in this film, his cruelty and sadism terrorize his mother Eva (Tilda Swinton) from the time he was born well into his teens, and the audience is there for the integral moments of his sociopathic journey, which culminates in a shocking – if not unexpected – revelation.
The film’s central character is Eva, played convincingly and subtly by Tilda Swinton. There was a lot of awards buzz early in the season for Swinton, and though she didn’t end up receiving an Oscar nomination, her work in this film is still something to be praised. We feel her helplessness, frustration, and rage at varying intervals (oftentimes all at once) as she struggles to form a relationship with her sociopath son.
Kevin himself is likely one of the most loathsome creations to hit the big screens in a long time. He is not a deep villain, or a villain at all – merely an antagonist whose actions and cruelty are never quite explained, nor does the film try to explain them. Instead, the film showcases Eva’s reactions to her son Kevin and the tension that grows between them as Kevin gets older. All the same, audiences will love to hate Kevin, and may even fear him by film’s end.
The film is presented to viewers in a stream-of-consciousness like state where visual and audio clues are the only things linking past and present together. It is a motif often seen in literature now brought to the big screen, and the transition, though jarring at first, builds the suspense over what Kevin did, and makes viewers want to keep watching. Have some patience and pay attention – this is not a popcorn flick the average viewer can just take in passively. It takes some work, and if audiences are willing to put in that work, they will be rewarded.
Overall, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a cerebral, experimental film that presents the troubled teen story to us from a different point of view (the mother’s) and in a non-linear style that will satisfy film buffs and literature geeks alike. However, the film could be off-putting to viewers looking for a horror-thriller film (which this film was seemingly marketed as). Nevertheless, Hollywood Apples is picking We Need to Talk About Kevin and recommends it to people who feel like they can handle a film like this. It is a great film once, but the option of repeated viewings lies with the viewer.