Film Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Based on Lionel Shriver’s prize-winning novel, We Need To Talk About Kevin is the harrowing story of a woman whose teenage son has committed a Columbine-style massacre.<--break->“></p>

<p>Director Lynne Ramsey – her first feature film in almost ten years – adapted the book herself and the result is a meticulously crafted, remarkably powerful and highly affecting piece of cinema that lies somewhere between family drama and outright horror.</p>

<p>It is important to note that although a high school massacre is central to the plot, this is no sensationalist piece. Do not attend this film expecting something out of Wes Craven’s back-catalogue because what you will get is something far more terrifying (no offence Wes). It is the deeply disturbing story of how a normal home can spawn a monster and how we can be powerless in stopping that monster from growing.</p>

<p>The story is told mainly in flashback from the perspective of the now washed-up, pill-popping, heavy-drinking mother Eva (played by a superb Tilda Swinton) who is desperately trying to understand the actions of her sociopath son. She has committed no crime herself but is unable to leave the house without fear of being assaulted or shouted at. Her porch and car are vandalised by neighbours. Since her son is so young he is not held fully accountable for his crimes. As if she hasn’t suffered enough society ruthlessly passes the blame onto her.</p>

<p>And this is really Eva’s story, with Kevin playing a supporting role. We watch as she brings him up from a baby – already causing her grief with endless crying that peculiarly stops when his father (John C Reilly) is around – into an aggressive, spiteful child, and finally a malevolent, sadistic teenager.</p>

<p>The three actors playing the different stages of Kevin’s life are superbly cast. Ezra Miller, who plays the teenage Kevin, plays the part with particularly unnerving malice. He and Swinton share an astonishing on-screen chemistry, bringing home the unnatural nature of their relationship.</p>

<p>This is not comfortable viewing but is mesmerising to watch. Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey does an excellent job, with each frame shot in stunning detail. The pacing is perfect as bit by bit the sickening reality of the situation is unveiled, culminating in a truly horrifying tragedy.</p>

<p>A deserving winner of the best film award at the London Film Festival, <em>We Need To Talk About Kevin</em> is one of the year’s must see films.</p>

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