Each and every moment of writer/director Lynne Ramsay’s dramatic thriller “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is mournfully mesmerizing.
I can sincerely say that the movie is one of the most emotional cinematic experiences I have ever witnessed, partly as a result of actress Tilda Swinton’s spectacular performance and partly because of the way that its style essentially reflects what the actress’s character is thinking and feeling over the course of her horrifically haunting ordeal.
Swinton plays Eva, a mother who contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child Kevin (Ezra Miller). Revealing anything more would minimize the “We Need to Talk About Kevin’s” intense emotional shock, but the story is essentially an exploration of nature vs. nurture as Eva’s own culpability is measured against Kevin’s innate evilness.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” is not the first film to recently tackle this topic. “Beautiful Boy” did a spectacular job of courageously encouraging thought-provoking conversation but failed to pack the emotional punch that one might expect from such a story. Enter Ramsay’s interpretation, which goes above and beyond even anything you might have imagined it could accomplish in that area.
That is to say that “We Need to Talk About Kevin” does not only emit emotions, it completely embodies them. Ramsay recreates the complexity of Eva’s pain via the movie’s claustrophobic cinematography, cluttered chronology and an intense intimacy. And I have not even said anything about the events that actually transpire over the course of the flick.
Needless to say, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is not exactly a fun film to watch. In fact, you very well may be begging to leave the auditorium and thereby escape the excruciating sensation that the motion picture gives you. However, if Ramsay’s story and style cannot keep you pinned to your seat, then Swinton’s performance most certainly will do so.
The actress is as the top of her game in “We Talk About Kevin.” Moreover, Swinton has never been better than she is here. Any given moment of Eva’s existence with Kevin would be enough to discourage even the most matronly woman from having children but it is only in the film’s final moments that we discover the true nature of the weight that she has been carrying around on her shoulders.
And that is when Swinton’s performance finally makes sense. It is also when we fully appreciate not only the supreme strength of Swinton’s talent but also the genuine genius of Ramsay’s technique. “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is a traumatic experience that will leave you in absolute silence upon exiting the theater if for no other reason than simple shock alone.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” (R – 111 minutes) is now playing exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.