Plot – Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined – We Need To Talk About Kevin.
Director – Lynne Ramsay
Released – 2011
While the basic premise behind We Need to Talk About Kevin is inspired, what put me off was the strange editing choices made by Director Lynne Ramsay, namely the non-linear plot, which when done right can be a powerful tool but here felt distracting and not used effectively. Too often, I found myself taken out of the story as it jumped back and forth in time, making the plot unnecessary complicated, while adding nothing to the story that couldn’t have been achieved with a more conventional filmmaking style. So I am glad that I knew the plot so I could understand what was happening. For me, the subject-matter was powerful enough without the tricks.
Boasting an engaging and often gripping performances by principal characters Swinton and Miller, the movie attempts to switch between psychological family drama and brutal horror without being entirely successful at either. Marred by Ramsay’s inability to decide what genre the movie was and if the event resulted from nature or nurture. Ineffective parenting, or was he born evil? The film takes no stand at all, leaving the audience to come to their own conclusions. The only other downside being the choice to cast John C. Reilly as the father. While both Swinton and Miller excellently in their roles, Reilly seemed a little out of place. His somewhat comical appearance and mannerisms felt at odds with the subdued nature of the movie.
Overall, We Need To Talk About Kevin is a very compelling yet frustrating movie. One the one hand, you have great acting and an interesting plot, let down by strange direction decisions that leave the movie feeling flat and take away from the emotional impact that the ending should have had.