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.