We Need to Talk about Kevin

2011 drama

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Kevin's a bad seed, and his mom tries to deal with that.

I think this is a movie that will stick with you. Lynne Ramsey directed this, and I didn't recall the name, but she's the one who directed the equally bleak but completely great Ratcatcher. This story--one that isn't without it's problems, by the way--is told in a similar impressionistic style. It's fragmented in almost a frustrating way, at least early on, but as the pieces start to be put together, you realize that that storytelling technique works to really help you absorb the issues this family is going through. The past mixes with the present for these characters, and it's impossible to keep them separated. The past soils the future and the future muddies up the past, and you're left with a ghostly curtain and the sound of sprinklers and a lot of old-timey country music.

Tilda Swinton's really good here. I don't know exactly what she's doing, but it's effective at forcing us to empathize and really experience the story through her bones.

I'll say no more. This movie isn't exactly a pleasant experience, but it's a rewarding one. A gut punch of a movie with loads of style and good performances, it chills.

The kid is played by Ezra Miller who seems like he could be the next big thing. Harry Potter movies, the Flash. He could also play Adam Driver's little brother in a movie.


cory said...

I could not get through this giant downer of a film. Swinton is a freaky and hard presence for me to deal with at any rate, but combined with this material and the disturbing style you mention, I couldn't stand this movie. I would give the 30 minutes I watched a 9. I'll have to take your word about the rest.

Shane said...

It is tough--both because of how disturbing or brutal it is and it's fractured, impressionistic style. I'd definitely lump it in the "not-for-everybody" category and don't think I'd recommend it to very many people at all.