A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Lynne Ramsay
Produced By: Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, Bob Salerno
Written By: Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear
Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller
Running Time: 112 Minutes
The mind of a child is one that is nearly impossible to grasp and understand. Racing at an unmatchable rate, absorbing the world and capable of alternating moods at the drop of a hat, the upbringing and shaping of an impressionable youth is one of the hardest periods in a parent’s life – or so I have heard.
Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin is a psychological drama seen through the eyes of a mother who struggles to manage connecting with her intolerable son Kevin who, since first entering the world in a pool of ever-flowing tears, was obviously different from others.
If it’s not talking back, violently acting out, being deliberately indecisive, playing mind games or just being a flat out little sh*t, he’s in his room, plotting his next act of destructiveness.
What the film is based around predominantly is the question of are monsters born or created? which is something we still have no concrete evidence to conclude upon.
The audience sees the world through the yes of Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton), however it’s not clear exactly what she sees and when. The opening act is scattered, mysterious and dreamy, like that of a cultivated surrealist experiment. Not completely abstract but disoriented enough to intrigue the audience, the film begins with certain striking pieces of imagery that establish the world in which this stressed, confused and apparently communally loathed woman inhabits.
Barely speaking and chopping between two time periods, the film finds a way to seamlessly flow in and out of itself whilst maintaining a solid core narrative that feeds from both eras. We see Kevin as a baby, a young boy and finally a teenager (played by Ezra Miller), furthering the sense of long-term struggle and hardship.
Nature and nurture are tackled head on, with Kevin showing numerous relatable symptoms of child angst, confusion and development, however certain instances remind us that he isn’t like we were at all, he is eerily and uncomfortably unique.
The visual undercurrent of the picture highlights the colour red and how significant it is to the story. The colour in general is a powerful one that lends itself so well to the cinematic medium, offering numerous themes and moods depending on how it is utilised. The red in Kevin is harsh, bold and aggressive, representing a number of symbolic references such as Eva ‘seeing red’ in every sense of the phrase.
The modern day setting is also a powerful element to the films unsettling realism. In an age where children have more freedom than previous generations ever did, it’s scary to think what some of them can conjure up within the confines of their bedroom.
Isolation, space, gadgetry and most importantly, the internet are all factors that are considered and taken into heavy account within the film, furthering the observation of modern day society and how much power the younger generation has at their fingertips.
Concluding powerfully and with a strong message about parenthood, We Need To Talk About Kevin is one that thrives on the slow burn. The audience is kept in the dark for most of the film, curious as to where it will go and how it will conclude.
It’s worth it all in the end, however many audiences may find the subject matter disturbing.
For a drama that attempts to get inside the mind of a stressed and responsible mother, the film does an excellent job of highlighting how difficult raising a child can be, especially when the child is a monster.
Recommended By Alise Dolly