We Need to Talk About Kevin

 

We Need to talk About Kevin movie poster

What are the reasons that push a teen to commit an irreparable act? To this question, which consumes both the victims’ parents and the murderer’s distraught relatives, Lynne Ramsay provides no real answer. Probably because Kevin, as he himself admits to his mother, does not even know himself. And this is where lies the power of  We Need to Talk about Kevin a film built on restraint, ellipses, which prefers to suggest rather than showing: we won’t get to see the carnage, which is a good thing since this isn’t the subject of this film anyway.

Based on novel by Lionel Shriver, the film revolves around the shattered life of Eva, the mother of a teenager responsible for a massacre in a high school and uses flashbacks – family scenes from birth to that fateful day – to try to pick up the pieces of a puzzle and understand what lead to these actions.restraint, ellipses, which prefers to suggest rather than showing: we won’t get to see the carnage, which is a good thing since this isn’t the subject of this film anyway.

Before the birth of Kevin, Eva led a bohemian life, traveling and taking advantage of her freedom. The arrival of a child suddenly turns her life upside down which, implicitly, the child experiences from an early age; for example this beautiful and rough scene set in the streets of New York, where Eva, carrying her screaming baby, looks desperately for some peace and ends up stopping by a worker using a jackhammer: she’d rather hear street noises than her baby’s cries. It’s then easy to understand how those kinds of acts would traumatizing for a child and could result in a rebellious attitude.

Lynne Ramsay does not brush the portrait of an unfit mother though; quite the contrary. Eva loves her son so much that she let him manipulate and dominate her to quite a shilling extent. The film focuses on their conflicted relationship through the eyes of Eva, through her own memories and her interpretation of the facts.

Onscreen, Tilda Swinton is in a state of grace, infusing in her character all the nuances of her feelings, whether it’s despair, anger, resignation or relief. Opposing her, Ezra Miller is disturbing, from his look to his body posture and his voice. If the story of a family giving birth to a future murderer is undoubtedly strong and provoking, the direction however proves to be too sophisticated for its own good, undermining its purpose. Lynne Ramsay experiments and goes too far, calculating every single plan, bordering at times on video clip work with the support of an omnipresent soundtrack (including a score by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood). If the plot and performances carry the film, its formal excesses result in a lack of authenticity and spontaneity which, if present, could have raised that work to another level. Fortunately, leaving the spectators with unanswered questions and their own assumptions still manage to save the film.

Director: Lynne Ramsay – Actors: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly – Running Time: 1:50 – Year: 2012 – Country: UK

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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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