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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) [DVD]
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Based on the million-selling Orange Prize winning novel by Lionel Shriver and directed by acclaimed film-maker Lynne Ramsay, We Need to Talk About Kevin is an emotional thriller starring Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, Academy Award nominee John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller. Eva (Tilda Swinton) puts her ambitions and career aside to give birth to Kevin. The relationship between mother and son is difficult from the very first years. When Kevin is 15, he does something irrational and unforgivable in the eyes of the community. Eva grapples with her own feelings of grief and responsibility. Did she ever love her son? And how much of what Kevin did was her fault?
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Kevin is not a real person, and this is where the film left me skeptical. He proves that he is not a real person right at the end. The screenwriters, in some misguided attempt to feel there was a resolution, changed Kevin's fundemental nature. The assumption throughout the film is that Kevin is a psychopath which by definition and without any exceptions means that he can feel no empathy for people, and uses others for his own ends. And this explains his treatment of his mother (Tilda Swinton), the way he plays with the affections of his sister and father (John C. Reilly) and his ultimate, callus act. The problem is that by the end of the film he is no longer a psychopath, he repents and he embraces his mother, thereby showing empathy.
Now, this film markets itself as a sophisticated thriller, engaging in contraversial issues with a serious attitude in order to show the deep horrors in human psychology, effectively becoming an existential exploration of human nature. But it loses all power and all authority in this aim at the very end when Kevin does something that his character cannot allow him to do. Governments and psychiatrists can only dream of such a transformation where a cold, psychopathic mass murderer can be reformed and changed as a person completely by a mere two years in a youth detention centre. Its just absurd, and in so doing the film is merely an elaborate horror which is obsessed with itself.
The problem with We Need to Talk About Kevin is that it doesn't deliver what it promises, and so no matter how well filmed, scripted or acted it may be, it is useless.
The film was one huge massive disappointment.
The kids were well cast.
I rented it so haven't lost much money.
Not shocking enough.
Jumped about too much.
Not keen on Tilda Swinton and can think of better actresses for the role of the mother.
Not gory enough - should've been an 18 this was more like a 12A than a 15.
Boring for long stretches.
The artsy red effect REALLY got on my nerves.
Not as good as the book.
So all in all a much anticipated book to film was a huge letdown. Can't remember when I've watched anything like this anticlimax.
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