Thursday, May 23, 2013

Film Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)

We Need To Talk About Kevin (Review)
United States/United Kingdom/2011
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Eva Katchadourian (Tilda Swinton) is currently struggling to cope with the atrocities her son, Kevin (Ezra Miller), had committed. Eva is hated and berated by most her neighbors - she is tortured by Kevin's past as much as she's tortured by her own.

We Need To Talk About Kevin is ambitiously told. It frequently jumps from time to time almost seamlessly. What I mean is: one scene will show Eva's present situation, then quickly transition into her past, while also foreshadowing Kevin's actions. Although it's easy enough to follow, this storytelling technique comes off as sloppy at times; not so much that you'll be lost, but you may be left questioning. It does ultimately add to the suspense of the film. You know what's coming at the end, and you concurrently see the build-up and the consequences; this really added to the tension and dread of the film, so, all-in-all, the storytelling ended up beneficial.

Eva's current situation has her searching for a job in a city where almost everyone hates her for her son's actions. She occasionally visits Kevin, but still has trouble connecting. Eva's past situation says a lot about her character. As Kevin was growing up, he was constantly crying, he was detached and angry, and he rejected his mother, except for one special occasion. However, Eva was equally angry and disappointed, a mother that openly took her frustrations out on Kevin - physically and verbally. The relationship between Eva and Kevin is dysfunctional to say the least.

Although much of the story focuses on Eva, Kevin has an ominous presence throughout the film, even when he's not fully introduced. The film brings up several interesting points, somewhat subtly. Is it nurture or nature that influenced Kevin's actions? When you look at it, Kevin's mother wasn't exactly a model parent. Like mother, like son? Also, was Kevin mentally ill? Did he suffer from a personality disorder, but somehow slip through the cracks? This is a story that is controversial, discussable, and relevant today, as well as a story that is terrifying, thrilling, dramatic, and ultimately entertaining.

The acting is fantastic in this film. Tilda Swinton plays Eva; her character shows many emotions - from happiness to sadness, from anger to frustration, and so on. She's very spot on as she's not overly dramatic or underwhelming. John C. Riley plays Kevin's father, Franklin, and he is also amazing; he is incredibly understated, this performance is realistic and relatable. Ezra Miller plays Kevin as a very manipulative, sinister young man. He is very chilling as he presents himself as a narcissistic, deceptive, yet very charismatic teenager - exactly what you'd expect from a mass murderer. The film's storytelling can feel muddled and sloppy, but it makes the film much more effective. The writing is fantastic, especially Kevin's monologue-like interview. The music is very ominous, very intense, and well-fitted.

Overall, We Need To Talk About Kevin is a fantastic drama that blends elements of horror and thriller to create a dreadful experience - a haunting, unforgettable experience. It is further supported by Ezra Miller's chilling performance, Tilda Swinton's versatile performance, and John C. Riley's realistic performance. It's a film that can also be discussed thanks to its relevancy. Don't miss this film, I highly recommend it.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood. Some sex and brief nudity (these scenes are in the dark)

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