Article first published as Movie Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin on Blogcritics.
We Need to Talk About Kevin was Directed by Lynne Ramsay, known for Morvern Callar (2002). Comments on IMDB seem to indicate that she has a small but devoted following. This movie could be what gets her name into the mainstream. I for one will be watching her career, I think she made a quite innovative movie here.
It was produced by a multitude of people but the name best known to me on the list is Steven Soderbergh, known for Ocean’s Eleven and Traffic. The movie stars Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian/Kevin’s mother, John C. Reilly as Franklin/Kevin’s father, and Ezra Miller as Kevin as a Teenager and a cast of others. The age old question of nature vs. nurture is a fitting discussion topic after watching this film. Are kids born bad or do we make them that way?
In We Need to Talk About Kevin, we see a mother going back over the events of her life trying to determine what caused her son to commit a mass murder. It is a series of flashbacks. We learn the events of a child’s life that led him as a teenager to commit mass murder at his high school. The main character is the mother whose eyes we see the flashbacks. She trying to understand why her child committed the mass murder. In the end we are left with no real answers but lines that get us thinking. John C. Reilly is the mostly absent father who seems to think the problem is the mother and exalts the son as a very good kid. There is a lot of dark and frightening imagery of blood and sorts of 1970’s style psychedelic spinning rooms. Once all this is digested, the stark, ominous truth of what has happened appears. It isn’t even remotely pretty.
I liked this movie a lot but I don’t think it will be very popular. In a world where Columbine happened, we still ironically have many people who choose to hide their heads n the sand. Rather than blame the devil, we ought to be talking about kids like Kevin who threaten to kill and kill again all throughout the land. This movie doesn’t show us what went wrong with Kevin but it opens the door which I’ll admit opens to a macabre discussion room, one we need to enter. The cast is perfect for their roles. You will likely hate Kevin’s character as I did, I hope they paid Ezra well! You will want to shake John C. Reilly when he acts like there is nothing wrong. I don’t mean to sugar coat this movie, it was uncomfortable to watch. At the same time, I feel it should be watched. From the dream sequence of a mosh pit of blood to the final chilling words of Kevin, this movie is a study that will most certainly keep brave viewers entertained. What’s more, it is a topic for discussion about another one of societies taboos. Having said that, some scenes had unnecessarily gratuitous violence so that is where it lost points.