Saturday, February 18, 2012
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Despite a gripping performance by Tilda Swinton, this is a contrived story of what happens when your child is growing up an obvious sociopath with violent tendencies and there's nothing you can do about it. Of course the title is ironic because no one actually talks about Kevin, which is the key point.
Ms. Swinton plays Eve, married to Franklin, played by a miscast John C. Reilly. When Kevin is born, it's apparent only to Eve that something is not right about the boy. Whenever she brings up her concerns, Franklin brushes them off as normal growing pains and "fawns" over his son. As Kevin grows, a second child is born, a daughter they name Celia. From the outside, all seems normal but Eve's growing dread about her son soon proves all too right and tragedy ensues.
The story is seen only through Eve's point of view and director Lynne Ramsay opts to tell the story in a fragmented time line. We move back and forth in Eve's life with each scene a puzzle piece that eventually all connect. Ms. Swinton immerses herself in the part trying early on to raise Kevin and then coping with the aftermath of violence she has been sensing all along but never tried to prevent.
Three boys play Kevin. Rocky Duer plays the toddler, Jasper Newell, the young Kevin to age eight and then Ezra Miller, the teen Kevin. Young Mr. Newell is a revelation as he is asked to play a very difficult part of a troubled little boy. Mr. Miller is electric as the teenage Kevin revealing his psychotic nature in subtle yet terrifying ways.
It's a tragedy that unfortunately this country has actually endured (and may again). It's too bad the story never takes an objective outside look at "the how or why" instead just focusing on "the what" because that ultimately lessens the emotional impact of the film.