The award-winning We Need to Talk About Kevin, based on the book of the same name by Lionel Shriver, is Lynne Ramsay’s latest directorial offering.
Two days before Kevin’s 16th birthday he commits a horrific, inconceivable act that mars the lives of many. The film alternates between two main timelines, interjected by a third comprising of short unexpected fragments in which we see the crime he committed.
The audience see the present day in which Kevin’s mother Eva, played by Tilda Swinton, attempts to cope with the crime in question. She is abused in the street and her home vandalized with red paint. This subtle imagery representing the blood Kevin spilled becomes a leitmotif, seen throughout the film.
Eye-catching Swinton is superb, conveying the sense that she cannot blend into her community, therefore never escaping her past.
We witness Kevin’s life from conception to the present day. Eva is an adventurous travel writer who falls pregnant; a child she hadn’t planned for and we presume didn’t want.
From the first years of his life onwards he appears not only to hate his mother but actively tries to hurt her in any way possible, to often sickening effect. Kevin is ‘pure evil’ – a concept that is hard to process.
Can a child be born evil? Or did his mother’s inability to bond with her child turn him into the monster he is today? Ezra Miller’s Kevin is chilling and captivating and John C. Reilly puts in an equally astounding performance as his father.
Why was Kevin so evil? This is the question members of the audience might ask themselves upon leaving the cinema. It is not answered in the movie but instead Ramsay wants us to think about parenting and society in a way we haven’t before. You will definitely need to talk about Kevin.