Mother’s ruin

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - Parental guid­ance rec­om­mended, but lit­tle use LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing State Cine­mas

Di­rec­tor: Lynne Ram­say ( Morvern Cal­lar ) Stars: Tilda Swin­ton, Ezra Miller, John C. Reilly, Ash­ley Gerasi­movich IN THE haunt­ing, heart- sink­ing drama We

Need To Talk About Kevin, there are in­deed mo­ments of un­con­di­tional love that can be de­tected be­tween mother and child. But they are fleet­ing and trav­el­ling only one way.

Eva ( Tilda Swin­ton) has given birth to a boy she can­not re­late to at all. Kevin ( played at dif­fer­ing stages of de­vel­op­ment by three young ac­tors) will grow up to ruin her life on ev­ery level.

Sounds like heavy go­ing? You haven’t even heard the half of it.

As those who have read Lionel Shriver’s best- sell­ing novel al­ready know, Kevin has set him­self a fu­ture date with in­famy. He will com­mit an act so hor­ri­fy­ing, so in­trin­si­cally evil, that it will see Eva be­come a pariah in her com­mu­nity.

There­fore the film de­ploys its pun­ish­ing power in two ways, de­pen­dent on whether you know what is com­ing at you or not.

Di­rec­tor Lynne Ram­say has very skil­fully adapted the book un­der the as­sump­tion the viewer has no ad­vance knowl­edge of Kevin’s un­speak­able ac­tions.

When ex­pe­ri­enced in this man­ner, the im­pact wielded by We Need To Talk

About Kevin is all the more in­tim­i­dat­ing and dev­as­tat­ing.

Set­ting aside the con­fronting na­ture of this ma­te­rial, the great­est chal­lenge posed to the au­di­ence is the un­usual struc­ture of the story as it un­folds.

Ram­say bounces the nar­ra­tive back and forth among the most cru­cial phases of Eva and Kevin’s ever- de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­la­tion­ship. There is no straight time­line through the tale. In­stead, what we are look­ing at is a jig­saw which de­mands much con­cen­tra­tion to as­sem­ble.

Some of the pieces we are work­ing with are from the af­ter­math of the aw­ful in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Kevin. Eva can­not walk down a street with­out be­ing ver­bally or phys­i­cally at­tacked for what her son has done.

Other frag­ments ques­tion how Eva’s strug­gle as a first- time par­ent to bond with her child might have shaped Kevin into the mon­ster he will be­come.

The other mem­bers of the fam­ily – Eva’s hus­band Franklin ( John C. Reilly) and young daugh­ter Celia ( Ash­ley Gerasi­movich) – are lit­tle more than in­no­cent by­standers, obliv­i­ous to the wreck­age around them.

An un­apolo­get­i­cally un­set­tling and achingly mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence, We Need To Talk About Kevin is a knock­out in all de­part­ments.

Swin­ton de­liv­ers a ca­reer- best per­for­mance. The nu­ances she ap­plies to Eva at dif­fer­ing stages of the tale are noth­ing short of in­cred­i­ble.

Of par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive note are the scenes Swin­ton shares with the ac­tor play­ing the teenage Kevin, Ezra Miller. Though famed for her im­mov­able, other­worldly pres­ence in films, Swin­ton al­lows her­self to be ground up like cheap glass by her young co- star’s ev­ery word.

Even if you can­not un­der­stand what Eva is go­ing through – and in all hon­esty, who could? – you will feel ev­ery last nerver­ack­ing twitch of pain.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.