Saturday, 28 January 2012

REVIEW: We Need To Talk About Kevin

What happens when you really hate your kid? When he's an absolute monster? Could you still love him?

It's interesting to see a film that takes a book and completely makes it it's own creature. What I loved about this film is that it seamlessly blends in three completely different narratives. The present, the beginning of the family and the 'event' that has dictated the rest of all their lives. However, what is clear is that even though this is essentially about a mothers anguish in her abomination of a boy, it's also her attempt at dealing with her inner demons, the idea that all her faults, anger and issues have been personified into Kevin.

The director Lynne Ramsay who is largely unknown, does an incredible job of telling a moving story that Tilda Swinton relishes in. I've always thought she was somewhat overrated until this film, she really does truly shine and how she has missed out on even an Oscar nomination is beyond me. It's a harrowing tale that makes you wonder about the Catholic idea of Original Sin, if people are born evil, as Kevin's upbringing seems somewhat normal - why is it that he is such a monster? There's no real reason given to it, other than his relationship with his mother which is strange to say the least. Perhaps her hatred of him is just so clear that it twists him? Or perhaps it's some twisted Oedipus complex?

The main issue here is her realisation that she is the same as Kevin. They have the same habits, the same ideas, the same hatred for each other and it is something she can't face, herself. Is she as horrible as Kevin? The only way she can deal with it, is acceptance. She visits her boy in prison, not saying a word but refuses to leave town, she tries to live a normal life but resigns herself to her fate in misery and Hell.

The acting is superb, the script phenomenal and the story takes a subject that is very close to American hearts and shows a different perspective. This has to be every mother's nightmare and it kept me gripped throughout. Reilly was very strangely cast, but his friendly incompetence and lack of authority needed more focus, I also wished it could have been a bit longer. I wanted to see more about Kevin's life, what made him what he was. I also wanted more of Swinton's present life, that itself could have made for a more interesting film. Kevin is slightly too evil to be realistic, especially since this is something that someone would have picked up a long time ago, no matter how much he covers up. But still, great viewing and I'd say an essential watch.

Rating: 9/10

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