Film Review – We need to talk about Kevin

18 Nov

– by Andrew Brady

The film is a faithful adaptation of the novel by Lionel Shriver about a fictional school massacre. And yes I must confess I have not read the book (it’s lying on my shelf) but I know people who have and assure me of this. The film’s Glaswegian director Lynne Ramsay brought the film to the Glasgow Film Theatre recently and also participated in a discussion – and if anything you should go to see it for this sole reason.

It is written from the perspective of the killer’s mother, Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton), and documents her attempt to come to terms with her son Kevin (in adolescence played by Ezra Miller), and the murders he committed. The story is told from the perspective of letters from Eva to her husband (John C. Reilly).

The film switches between the guilt-stricken mother trying to rebuild her life post-shooting and the hatred showed towards her by the local community and the life stages of the family. It is clear that a contributory factor to Kevin’s difficult childhood is a result of Eva’s own post-natal depression. The estrangement she feels towards her son intertwines with his increasing malice before culminating in mass murder. The film ignites a classic ‘nature versus nurture’ debate which in the end is never resolved.

A deeply disturbing film with some powerful performances.

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