Monday, October 22, 2012

We Need To Talk About We Need To Talk About Kevin

Movie Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Reviewed: 3 September 2012

jamesintexas rating--***

Uncomfortable, nightmarish, unsatisfying, and prescient, "We Need To Talk About Kevin" focuses on the before and after regarding a traumatic event involving a young boy.  The narrative flows from past to future and back to the past, with mom's face sometimes blending into her young, troubled son Kevin's face.  Ramsay throws a lot of textures and colors at us: the red of La Tomatina, a Spanish tomato festival where participants throw bloody tomatoes at each other, filling the streets with a blood surrogate; red paint thrown in hatred at the mom's house by angry, grieving community members which she spends portions of the film symbolically trying to wash off; blood from a slap in the face, delivered on a sunny street by a neighbor; crushed Froot Loop cereal, pushed down into the table top by Kevin.

A deeply uncomfortable film, Ramsay crafts a tale without redemption and little release.  Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton delivers a strong performance as a mom riddled with guilt and confusion.  She doesn't know how to react to her violent, possibly-sociopathic son, and there are hints of her lack of any desire to be a mother.  How much does Ramsay point the finger at mom for what the son does?  Difficult to say.  The structure of the film delays our full understanding of the violent event, and in doing so, I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding whatever is going to happen.

Deeply upsetting and not fun to watch, "We Need To Talk About Kevin" explores darker territory than your average film, and Swinton's performance as well as Ezra Miller's striking turn as son Kevin make this worth watching.  With caution.

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