ByTowne ByTowne Cinema
325 Rideau St. Ottawa K1N 5Y4
Info Line: (613) 789-FILM
Based on the bestselling novel.
We Need To Talk About Kevin is based on the award-winning 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver and stars Tilda Swinton as Eva, a woman who’s struggling to rebuild her life in the wake of a horrific, community-shattering crime committed by her 15-year-old son Kevin (Ezra Miller). As she visits Kevin in jail, Eva flashes back to the events that lead up to his crime and agonises over her own part in his upbringing – is she somehow to blame because she resented him as a child and was unable to bond with him?
Tilda Swinton is terrific as Eva, delivering a haunted, emotionally wrenching performance that is heartbreaking to watch. Similarly, Ezra Miller is extremely chilling as Kevin, exuding a seemingly malevolent, almost reptilian evil that is genuinely disturbing (Rock Duer is equally good as young Kevin), while there’s reliable support from John C. Reilly as Eva’s well-meaning husband Franklin and Ursula Parker provides an adorable counterpart as Kevin’s distinctly non-evil little sister Lucy.
The script is brilliantly structured, employing a fractured narrative that is both disorienting and effective. The editing is equally impressive with Ramsay choosing to leave certain details off-screen to powerful effect; as a result, one of the film’s biggest shocks (assuming you haven’t read the book) occurs as an almost casually off-hand detail that is utterly devastating.
Director Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Movern Callar) shoots with a bold visual style, heightened by Seamus McGarvey’s stunning cinematography that splashes jarring reds throughout the flashback scenes, echoed in the splattered red paint that Eva is trying to remove from the front of her house in the present-day sequences. There’s also relatively little dialogue throughout, with the camera frequently focused on Swinton’s haunted eyes and colour-drained face, to haunting, claustrophobic effect.
Brilliantly directed and superbly acted, We Need To Talk About Kevin is a haunting, provocative drama that packs a devastating emotional punch. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another nine years for Ramsay’s next film. Unmissable and one of the best films of the year.
– Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
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