Writers:Lynne Ramsay and Rory Kinnear,based on the novel by Lionel Shriver
John C. Reilly-Franklin
We Need To Talk About Kevin starts off with an abstract scene which shows a room in which the curtains are beaten by the wind.Not really important.The second scene shows us a tomato fight in which Kevin's mother,Eva is taking part.Here,Ramsay uses a smart metaphor.Eva is drowned into a ton of tomato juice,which is suggested to be the blood-bath,Kevin provokes at school.
Well,first is first,Swinton delivers one of the best female performances this year,because she is able to emote all of her character's feelings.Sad,angry and happy(a rare feeling for this particular character).Actually,she is helped to conjure those feelings perfectly by the writing.
Most of the people haven't seen Ramsay's previous films.I've seen one of them,Morvern Callar(2002),so I might say she has an unique style.A messier style.In the first 40 minutes of the movie there is a lot of "shakiness" in the image and some of the moments in which we only hear music are out of focus.But,it is like this in order to underline that our main character is troubled by the events,her son has triggered.Also,her storytelling techniques are also,very strange.
Miller is spot-on as Kevin.His way of telling his character's monologues,his way of restraining his emotions in order to intrigue us.When I saw him in City Island(2009),I didn't think he was very well-casted,because he had the features of a dramatic character.In my opinion,he resembles Arno Frisch,which played the Benny(a sociopath) in Benny's Video(1992) and Paul(another sociopath) in Funny Games(1997).Both films were directed by Michael Haneke.
Ramsay keeps reminding us that this is viewed from the mother's perspective.For example,when Eva hurts Kevin(when he was younger),he takes him to the hospital and there the doctor tells Eva that Kevin is a wonderful kid,even though we see him as an asshole.
People might tend to compare this with Elephant(2003),a film that is based on real events,but compared to this one,it fails to dissecate the mentality and behaviour of the troubled teenager,mostly because of its running length(81 minutes) and its focus on other characters than the killers.
All in all,this is a great film that succeeds in being both a deep character study and a raw,gut-wrenching drama. 10 out of 10.