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

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.