Jun 11, 2012

Movie on Monday: We Need to Talk About Kevin

*This was supposed to be a double book/movie review, but since I was busy last week I haven't' finished the book yet. But for your reading pleasure, here's Vjeko's review of the movie.*


We Need to Talk About Kevin
Directed by: Lynne Ramsey
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller, John C. Riley
Running time: 106 minutes

“We Need To Talk About Kevin” is most likely the most disturbing movie about motherhood ever made. It asks the question whether the parents' state of mind can in any way be responsible for the actions of the children. The movie offers frightening answers which will definitely polarize audiences.

Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton) is trying to piece together her life following the "incident". Once a successful travel writer, she is forced to take whatever job comes her way, which of late is as a clerk in a travel agency. She lives a solitary life as people who know about her situation openly shun her, even to the point of violent actions toward her. She, in turn, fosters that solitary life because of the incident, the aftermath of which has turned her into a meek and scared woman. That incident involved her son Kevin Khatchadourian (Ezra Miller), who is now approaching his eighteenth birthday. Eva and Kevin have always had a troubled relationship, even when he was an infant. Whatever troubles he saw, Franklin (John C. Riley), Eva's complacent husband, just attributed it to Kevin being a typical boy. The incident may be seen by both Kevin and Eva as his ultimate act in defiance against his mother.

“We Need to Talk about Kevin” is not a movie for all tastes. It asks the audience to take a lot of both physical and psychological on-screen abuse. It's a very disturbing, chilling movie, oozing anxiety. It’s a movie that proposes that it is possible that someone is actually born evil. Director Lynne Ramsey has an interesting way of using vivid color in order to emphasize Kevin’s malevolence and how he visualizes the world around him. It's an interesting stylistycal choice, although at times it can get a bit over indulgent.

Ezra Miller is fantastic in the role of Kevin. He really gives the theory that a person can be born evil credence. He creates one of the most memorable on-screen villains in recent years. We love to hate him and it's frustrating how completely clueless his father is when it comes to seeing right through Kevin.

And then there is Tilda Swinton… My god, Tilda Swinton.
In the role of Eva, Swinton gives arguably the best female performance in a long time. She has a difficult task of portraying a mother unsure of her feelings towards her son and if her lack of emotion is somehow the reason for the horror that is to come. And yet, somehow we fully sympathize with Eva, seeing just what a monster Kevin turned out to be. Only a truly great actress can make us feel that way. Eva is a woman forced to take a lot of abuse because of Kevin’s actions, giving way to the argument that not only do children pay for the sins of their parents, but very often it’s the other way around.

One more great strength of this movie is the depiction of a society after a tragic event. Everything changes, from the society to the general atmosphere. And this again is testament to Lynne Ramsey’s direction.

“We Need to Talk About Kevin” is a nearly great film. It’s the worst possible horror movie for any mother. Is it a caution tale or a straight thriller? Probably both. But the biggest virtue is the illumines Tilda Swinton. Seeing her playing Eva has been one of the biggest honors and pleasures in my movie watching life.


About the Author
Vjekoslav Rosandić is a 26-year old movie critic who has already made a name for himself locally, contributing movie reviews for TV and various media outlets in print and online. As of recently he writes editorials for Around the Networks. Vjekoslav holds a Master's degree in English and Philosophy and is currently employed as university librarian. When he's not watching movies, he's reading or hanging out with his fabulous girlfriend.

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