We Need to Talk About Kevin
Jarring and unsettling, the flicking between seemingly random scenes and jumbling up the chronological order, makes We Need To Talk About Kevin extremely difficult to get into, but that’s the point of the entire film. It’s not supposed to be easy to watch, it’s not supposed to be easy to understand, it’s not supposed to be easy to talk about Kevin.
Dressed up as an indie drama, We Need To Talk About Kevin is in reality a mesmerising horror set in a firm and unrelenting reality. There are no supernatural beings wreaking havoc, no demonic possession. This is a story of horror not often talked about.
It’s the story of what occasionally happens after giving birth.
It’s the story of Eva, a successful travel writer, who on giving birth to her first born, Kevin, fails to bond in any form, despite her un-ending attempts. Kevin seems to have am inbuilt desire to push his mother closer and closer to the edge, whilst playing off his father, Franklin, who he is the perfect child for. This insidious behaviour tortures Eva, pushing her to her ragged end, and forces a wedge between her and Franklin, as they never sit down and have any frank discussions about Kevin, Eva feels more and more alone.
Though she seeks help, no one can see that there is anything wrong with Kevin until it is too late.
We Need To Talk About Kevin starts at the end, but never gives away the plot. You know (or probably should know if you’re going to watch We Need To Talk About Kevin) what happens, but the journey you are taken on, weaves back and forth between past and present, interspersing the happy times with the empty shell that Eva becomes.
Tilda Swinton owns her role and flits between happiness to the depths of despair with uncanny ease, her tortured character is totally and utterly believable. John C. Reilly surprises in his role as the deaf, dumb and blind (figuratively) father and husband. An odd choice I had thought, but after seeing this film, I have new respect for the man as an actor. Whilst Swinton pretty much owns the film as a whole, it’s Kevin, played by Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell and Rock Duer, who steals the scenes everytime, with all three actors bringing the insidious nature of Kevin to life through his main stages of life.
Lynne Ramsay’s delicate handling of the subject and story is an amazing example of total control as she never lets the audience wander away from what is happening on screen. She uses her cinematic abilities to rivet you to your seat whilst she assaults you with a film that you will never forget, a film that you will never quite come to any firm conclusions over, a film that you will recommend, whilst warning people away from.
We Need to Talk About Kevin is an amazing film that takes the cinematic art form that has been relegates to a form of pure entertainment, and brings it back to it’s true purpose, that of storytelling.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read