Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"We Need To Talk About Kevin"

It seems strange to describe as “beautiful” a film which deals with such horrific themes as “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, but it’s entirely appropriate – Lynne Ramsey’s adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel is a great achievement. Tilda Swinton is wondrously compelling as the mother whose icy relationship with her son may or may not have had some bearing on the unfortunate events for which he is responsible. Frequently abused as she goes about her daily business, pathetically grateful for any expression of human warmth, consumed with guilt and grief, Swinton’s Eva is a remarkably vivid creation; Ezra Miller is eerily attractive as the teenage bad seed of the title (and Jasper Newell and Rocky Duer are even creepier as the gimlet-eyed younger versions), and John C. Reilly heart-breakingly hearty as his father. The story is told through fragmented images (plenty of reds, obviously), incongruous soundtrack songs (notably Buddy Holly’s “Every Day”) and sparsely contextualised flashbacks, of a kind which fill the viewer with dread, leaving us in no doubt as to the eventual direction of the story. Ramsey (whose similarly dreamlike “Morvern Callar” is a personal favourite) leaves much of the violence to the viewer’s imagination (which, of course, makes it much worse), and offers us the merest crumb of redemptive comfort at the very end. Shriver has given this adaptation her full endorsement, and rightly so – this is a masterpiece of impressionistic narrative cinema.

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