We Need To Talk About Kevin

From Scottish film director Lynne Ramsay, who previously made the brilliant Ratcatcher and Morvern Callar, comes another great character piece, this time discussing the issues of motherhood and nature vs. nurture.

The story follows Tilda Swinton’s Eva as she recalls events in her life that have led to where she is now: jobless, depressive, alone… All of these incidents revolve around her son, Kevin, in some way: his birth, toddler years, childhood, teenage angst – up until something unthinkable happens that changes everything…

Lynne Ramsay and her husband Rory Kinnear’s script is assured and brave. It does away with the idea of the book by Lionel Shriver (written just in letters) and focuses on Eva and her life now, working slowly back through everything involving her and Kevin, turning something that was considered unfilmable into something bold and impressive and indeed, very filmic.

Tilda Swinton is absolutely amazing as Eva: quiet, wounded, fragile, yet determined to carry on. I’d be very surprised if she wasn’t up for a Bafta for her performance (and that she might even win if she was – watch me eat my words now…) and she should be up for an Oscar…here’s hoping.

And Ezra Miller as the titular teen is equally astounding – a permanent sneer fixed on his face and looking as suave as (as well as terrifyingly smug) in every scene.

One of the things that really marks this film out is Ramsay’s direction and attention to detail, her camera focussing on certain things that would normally be breezed over by another director. She hypes up the tension and emotion through these details – such as the character’s picking their nails or scratching in nervousness. And the sound used for these parts (as well as others) is incredible – everything is heightened and certain moments really burrow under your skin. And every single shot is utterly beautiful too.

The one and only criticism I would have for this film is definitely the heavy-handed use of symbolism (Red = BLOOD, DANGER and DEATH, etc.) which runs throughout – at first it’s interesting and dynamic, but after a while it gets a little bit silly.

But this is a v. v. v. minor criticism of a film that to watch is to experience something truly visceral, Ramsay using sounds and visuals to create something that sticks in your mind and your gut for a long, long time. And, personally, it’s my film of the year.

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~ by square-eyed-geek on November 23, 2011.

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