We Need to Talk About Kevin

"Essential"

We Need to Talk About Kevin Review


Scottish filmmaker Ramsay takes an astonishingly visceral approach to Lionel Shriver's notorious novel. And combined with Swinton's internalised performance, the experience of watching this dark, disturbing film is almost unbearably moving.

Eva (Swinton) is a shell of her former self, living in isolation as the target of anger from an entire community. She clearly blames herself for an act of violence unleashed by her 15-year-old son Kevin (Miller), and misses her husband (Reilly) and daughter (Gerasimovich). But as she finds a job and starts to put her life together, the memories won't stop swirling in her mind. Does she even deserve to have survived such a horrific event? Can she ever make peace with the grieving, enraged people around her?

From the film's opening shot, we know we're not in a literal world. Ramsay paints each scene with dreamlike hyperrealism, slicing through the surface to root out subconscious feelings. Every memory contains something that's lurid red, a constant reminder that forgetting what happened is not an option.

Meanwhile, Seamus McGarvey's cinematography pushes us into shadows and corners we don't want to enter, while also finding real beauty. And Jonny Greenwood's score quietly underscores the moods, even as cleverly selected songs add anachronistic counterweight.

But it's the faces that really draw us in: performances are essentially wordless, using dialog only to show us something deeper. This is one of Swinton's most delicate performances, which is saying a lot, as she uses her physicality to let us see right into Eva's heart. Her interaction with Reilly is raw and truthful, as is her bristly communication with Miller, who is also beautifully played as a toddler by Duer and as a boy by Newell. The complex connections between these characters make the final resolution that much more devastating.

Ultimately this is a story about the emotional fallout after a high school massacre, as the mother of the villain tries to cope with her own misplaced guilt. It's a staggering, wrenching, mesmerising film that never lets up. And if hints that Kevin might just have been a bad seed feel a little bit simplistic, there's also a richness to each character and scene that makes the film utterly unforgettable.



We Need to Talk About Kevin

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st October 2011

Box Office USA: $1.7M

Budget: $7M

Distributed by: Oscilloscope Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 141 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: John C. Reilly as Franklin, as Eva, as Kevin, as Wanda

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.