COURTESY OF NICOLE RIVELLI
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” explores the age-old nature versus nurture question in a captivating psychological thriller.
Director Lynne Ramsay, whose last feature length, “Morvern Callar,” premiered in 2002, is back with a gripping story of a mother attempting to love her son whom she actually fears.
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” follows the relationship between Eva, played by Tilda Swinton (“Adaptation”) and her son, Kevin, played by Ezra Miller, from his birth to the day he committed a massacre at his high school and onward.
Despite the title and plot, the film surprisingly does not follow Kevin but, instead, Eva and the psychological torment she endures as she begins to realize there is something wrong with her son. But as Eva begins to fear the worst, she realizes that her husband, played by John C. Reilly (“Stepbrothers”), has already become victim to his manipulation.
The casting for this movie could not have been more fitting. Swinton spun a beautiful portrayal of a concerned and frightened mother before the school massacre and an emotionally distraught and fragile mother of a killer. Although the two roles depicted two completely different women, Swinton played them in a believable and powerful way that was heartbreakingly realistic.
At first, casting Reilly in such a disturbing film did not seem like an obvious choice, but witnessing him playing this new type of role was surprisingly relatable. The best casting choice came with Miller, who played the eerie portrayal of a disturbingly evil teenager.
Throughout the film Ramsay juxtaposes the past with the present of Eva’s opposite lives through flashbacks. At first it may seem hard to keep up with the movie, but that’s the point. Eva’s life has fallen to pieces and it is hard for even her to keep up.
It’s not just the big things that make “We Need to Talk About Kevin” so gripping; it’s the details. Aspects as small as the background music transformed the feel of the film. Upbeat folk music overlapped with scenes of Eva witnessing her son bowing in front of a crowd of screaming onlookers and police officers after the massacre creates a bizarre contrast. No second or shot was wasted throughout the entire film.
“We Need To Talk About Kevin” is definitely not a feel-good movie, but it explores a complex relationship that is rarely examined and that will leave you pinned to your seat wondering what will happen next in Eva’s perpetual downward spiral.