We Need To Talk About Kevin DVD
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Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Produced in 2011
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher) distills cinema to its essence in this discomfiting study of a mother's relationship with her son. Unease and menace threads the film, says Alexander Ballinger.
We Need to Talk About Kevin marks Lynne Ramsay’s return to British cinema after a nine-year hiatus and tackles, in an intoxicating mix of horror, thriller and melodrama one of society’s taboos at full tilt. What if… a mother does not love her child and should he commit a crime, is it a result of nature or nurture?
Ramsay’s acute distillation of Lionel Shriver’s bestseller overhauls the novel’s structure in which a traumatised mother (Eva) exorcises her demons about the crime of her son (Kevin) via a series of letters to her estranged husband. Instead it plunges straight into Eva’s fractured mind, beset by grief, guilt, self-loathing and shame. Then in a dizzying array of interweaving flashbacks, it seamlessly moves from her day-to-day life, visits to her incarcerated son and their years of internecine battles, culminating in a high school massacre.
Tilda Swinton plays the omnipresent Eva with exceptional power and emotional range, one moment resembling an icy Modigliani portrait, the next a lifeless Munch cadaver. Almost matching her intensity are the three actors who play Kevin, especially as a teenager (Ezra Miller). Chillingly nasty, these are boys you would do well to keep away from kid sisters and archery equipment. This just leaves John C. Reilly as Eva’s ineffectual husband, to complete cinema’s most dysfunctional family since Mildred Pierce (1945).
Viewers concerned about the depiction of Kevin’s crimes should dispel their worries as on-screen violence is kept to a minimum. Instead Ramsay leaves her top-notch production team to create unease and menace. Take for example, the sinister use of the colour red imperceptibly woven through the film’s fabric, from the sickening hues of the Tomatina festival that Eva recalls in one of her reveries, via the paint thrown over her house to the cloying soft toy that continually unsettles domestic scenes.
Borrowing Ramsay’s words, Kevin is a ‘mother and son story’, rather than a ‘high school massacre film’. It is primarily about a mother trying, failing and then trying again to love her son. And, as she embraces Kevin during her last prison visit and walks towards the light, perhaps redemption is not too far away.
Alexander Ballinger on 19th January 2012
Author of 33 reviews
Based on the million-selling Orange Prize winning novel by Lionel Shriver and directed by acclaimed film-maker Lynne Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin is an emotional thriller starring Academy Award Winner Tilda Swinton, Academy Award nominee John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller.
Eva (Tilda Swinton) puts her ambitions and career aside to give birth to Kevin. The relationship between mother and son is difficult from the very first years. When Kevin is 15, he does something irrational and unforgivable. Eva grapples with her own feelings of grief and responsibility. Did she ever love her son? And how much of what Kevin did was her fault?
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Length: 112 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 27th February 2012
Cat No: ART581DVD
- Interview with cast and crew