We Need To Talk About Kevin: "He's Just A Boy, A Sweet Little Boy. That's What Boys Do"

Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writer:    Lynne Ramsay
               Rory Stewart Kinnear
Starring: Tilda Swinton
               John C Reilly
               Ezra Miller
               Jasper Newell
               Rocky Duer
               Ashley Gerasimovich
Rating:    ****

Home Release: 27/02/12

After spending time working on a pre-Peter Jackson adaptation of The Lovely Bones, Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay is back from a nine-year cinema hiatus with We Need to Talk About Kevin. Based on Lionel Shriver's novel, she creates an intense and harrowing drama about the shattered bond between mother and son.

We're introduced to a shrivelled woman named Eva (Swinton), as she comes home to find her depressing house covered in red paint, thrown by vandals. As she scrubs away the paint from her house, Ramsay cuts back in time to examine the hows and whys of her current situation. Eva was once happily married to Franklin (Reilly) and they raised two children together, Kevin (Miller) and Celia (Gerasimovich). For the whole of Kevin's life Eva has struggled to connect with him, and their strained relationship continues through to his teenage years. The film is scattered with references to a high school tragedy, giving the film an overshadowing sense of dread.

This is a dark, bleak and traumatic drama marked by a extraordinary performance from Swinton. The strain of raising such a disturbed child take a very clear physical toll on Eva. She starts lively, vibrant and with a glowing career, but under constant torment from Kevin she folds in, eventually becoming a sunken-eyed pale shadow of her former self, where even getting a job or groceries is a daily struggle. Miller, also, is truly disturbing and powerful as Kevin, and constantly makes you feel uneasy and uncomfortable with every cold stare he gives. There's subtle ambiguity in his performance, but by the end you realise he is nothing but a cold-hearted child, who loves to torture the one that love him the most.

Ramsay's use of the colour red is what, for me, made the film so powerful and engaging. Many of the scenes have the colour red on Swinton, whether it paint, tomato juice, or lighting. It shows the audience that although her the son is the criminal, she is the one that will have to live with the blood that has been spilt, and no matter how much she tries to clean it away, it will always come back to haunt her. It's this idea that brings the film and story to life, and it helps to really show off what an awful affect it has had on Eva. It really is a strangely beautiful film at times, and it is out next month on home release, and if you like a gritty drama this is definitely for you.

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Trailer