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We Need To Talk About Kevin (DVD)
Member Name: thedevilinme
We Need To Talk About Kevin (DVD)
Advantages: Dark and interesting stuff
Disadvantages: Bit far-fetched
Cert - 15
Run Time - 112 minutes
Genre - Drama
Country - UK/USA
Awards - Golden Globe Nomination
The exploration of a parent's rejection of her own child is as emotive as you can get on film. Many young mums are close to cracking when the baby screams and screams and screams and if the man you love is out at work all day then how do you cope, especially if you want to be out at work and growing your own career. When you look very closely at infanticide and some cot death statistics it's not so much the baby's health that is the decisive factor but the social class and bad habits of the guardians. Some children are just born into failure and in many cases the kids there just to increase the parent's welfare payments and maybe a chance of a bigger council house. But what if the parent who rejects the child is professional, intelligent, creative and middle-class, the environment where kids born into thrive. What if she didn't smother the baby when she could have and decides to take that frustration out on the child in other ways, making him as evil as the mother who would do such a thing, the subject of this rather controversial and often pretentious book to film.
Director Lynne Ramsay, the woman behind the camera, is a non compliant character, making just three films in the last 12 years but interesting stuff when she does, 'Morvern Caller' and 'Ratcatcher, the other two, films you should catch if you can. She clearly doesn't like the hassle of raising money to make niche British films and after dropping out of the Lonely Bones project because of that it would eventually be a ten year gap between her last film to make 'We Need to talk about Kevin', BBC Films coming to the rescue to allow her to turn Lionel Shriver's intelligent and challenging book by the same name into this rather interesting little film.
As with her previous films this one tackles themes of female emancipation and the responsibility of childhood, issues that few filmmakers really want to get to grips with, the rejection of your own brood and animal instinct and a sensitive subject. There are issues that women deal with that they never discuss with men and if women told the truth then the world would indeed crack apart. That perversity where women trap a man with a child and then resent both the man and the child for that happening, even though the man probably didn't want a child, is an intriguing contradiction to delve into on screen and so well played Lynne Ramsay for trying. The number of women who get post natal depression is high and who knows what goes through their heads when presented with a new bundle of life and told to get on with it. Cast the brilliant Tilda Swinton as that woman can only be the match made in heaven for Ramsey.
Tilda Swinton ... Eva Khatchadourian
John C. Reilly ... Franklin
Ezra Miller ... Kevin, Teenager
Jasper Newell ... Kevin, 6-8 Years
Rock Duer ... Kevin, Toddler
Ashley Gerasimovich ... Celia
Siobhan Fallon ... Wanda
Alex Manette ... Colin
A rather broken looking thirty something woman called Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton)
lives in a run down house in a nondescript New York leafy suburb, waking up to yet another long awaited job interview, only to be greeted by red paint thrown all over her car and front door. Something terrible has happened in her life that has bought her to this place and the people affected haven't forgotten, the pain written in every wrinkle on her face.
Through her thoughts we learn of happier times, once a successful travel writer and living the freedom and the emancipation that once defined her. We also meet a guy in those flashbacks, Franklin (John C. Reilly), who through an act of love in an unnamed Spanish city impregnates her and so becomes her husband. But Eva doesn't take to family life and babies, soon cursing every scream from her bundle of joy, consciously pushing the pram in front of road workers using a powerful drill in the sadistic hope it deafens the child to stop it screaming. It seems to do the trick and the kid no longer makes a sound, but the doctor informing the mother that he isn't death.
Little Kevin (Jasper Newell) grows up in this world of rejection by his mother and so acts accordingly, the relationship between the two pretty dire, although dad bonds better, especially as he gets older indulging his sons archery hobby.
We then flash-forward, Eva getting the job in the travel agent, her job to file and photocopy instead of write about exotic places. We also get the first clue what that terrible thing was and why she has returned to live in the neighborhood, raising the ire of the locals, her husband long since divorced. Eva's penance she is putting herself through seems to be part of her guilt. But why? When she takes a day of work to visit a grown up Kevin in jail we begin to learn how bad he turned out and the realization that mom won't let go of her son...
Kevin: It's like this: you wake up and watch TV, get in your car and listen to the radio you go to your little jobs or little school, but you don't hear about that on the 6 o'clock news, why? 'Cause nothing is really happening and you go home and watch some more TV and maybe you go out and watch a movie. I mean it's got so bad that half the people on TV, inside the TV, they're watching TV. What are these people watching, people like me?
Pretentious or not the film tries to tackle the books interesting and confrontational ideas with style and structure, the question being do we get the child we deserve? Are some kids born evil like that Norwegian chap or is it learnt from their environment and guardians, the inference here. Who do women blame if a baby comes along and ends their emancipation? I can imagine that happens a lot and post natal depression following in many of those cases. It's the next 18 years of your life right there in that little bundle and you aint going anywhere!
Right from the striking opening scenes to its ironic and moody easy listening soundtrack you can't help but be intrigued by this and its themes, although the blood red metaphor is overdone, just in case you don't get what the movie is about. The androgynous Swinton is superb as ever in the lead and rather outrageous that her performance wasn't nominated for the Oscars, a fascinating bird and one I would love to meet. John C. Reilly, on the other hand, I don't want to meet and badly cast here as the man who took away Eva's soul and spirit by dumping her with a kid, not the most attractive man. There is no way these opposite personalities would meet, which slightly spoils things. That aside there is enough going on with the intelligent script and the young and teenage versions of Kevin's chemistry with Swinton for the script to crackle and interesting set - pieces to be produced.
For a budget of $7million it looks great but a little too arty to earn a mainstream return, bringing in just $5million. It's certainly an over-the-top film in disguise but its also appealing in its own way. I like films that do what Ricky Gervais does on TV and just take you outside of your comfort zone to confront our darker sides, the terrible things that men and women do in the home when things get desperate and deprived. One must presume the human race needs a destructive gene deep inside to deploy so we can survive as a race. In the darkest corner of Nigeria tribal women throw unwanted babies in the river and in India over ten million girls have gone missing or never born in the last twenty years. We are all capable of terrible things and only time and human civilization has buried those practices, the self-destructive part of the human psyche this films nibbles at.
>>>> Ratings >>>>
Imdb.com - 7.7/10/0(18.004 votes)
Metacritc.com - 77/100 critic's approval ratings
Rottentomatos.com -80/100 critic's approval ratings
>>>> Critics >>>>
The New Yorker - "Ms. Ramsay, with ruthless ingenuity, creates a deeper dread and a more acute feeling of anticipation by allowing us to think we know what is coming and then shocking us with the extent of our ignorance".
The Times - "A pretentious, unpleasant, woolly headed movie that's nothing more than a cheesy horror picture for people who wouldn't be caught dead going to a cheesy horror picture".
The LA Times - "Of all the nomination flubs made this past January by the Academy of Harvey Weinstein Arts and Sciences, the most egregious mistake was arguably the lack of a Best Actress nod for Tilda Swinton".
The Daily Telegraph - "It's a hallmark of "Kevin's" emotional bravery and intellectual honesty that the questions haunt us long after the end credits roll"
>>>> Special Features >>>>>>
-Cast & Crew Interviews -
Worth watching if you read the book or like the wonderfully colorful and intelligent Swinton.