Indie Roundup: ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’
Photo by Oscilloscope Films
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The cause of this metamorphosis is her son, Kevin, who might be the worst offspring in movies since Damien shoved his mother off the balcony in "The Omen." While the origins of Damien's evil is obvious -- he's the Antichrist, after all -- the origins of Kevin's malevolence is not. What is clear is that he has committed a Columbine-like school massacre, and Eva, rightly or not, feels very responsible for her son's crimes.
The film opens with a stunning half-hour long montage that is a triumph of both editing and sound. In it, we see a portrait of not only a baby that very quickly grows into a sociopathic monster, but also of Eva's ambivalence toward motherhood and her surrendering of a life of urban independence for one of suburban mediocrity. At one point, in a prenatal yoga class, the other mothers proudly show off their baby bumps while Eva hides hers. At another point, Eva wheels her colicky infant to a construction site so the sound of jackhammers can drown out his cries. At another, Kevin's utter unwillingness to interact with Eva during a simple game is met with growing frustration edged with resentment. As the film progresses, Kevin's response toward his mother ranges from indifference to cruelty. At times, Kevin feels less like a character than an amalgam of parenting nightmares, from colic to autism to Dylan Klebold.
Lynn Ramsay is not what you'd call a subtle director. Her heavy-handed use of the color red starts to feel overwrought after a while. And did Kevin really need to devour the gratuitously ocular-looking lychee fruit just after causing grievous eye damage to an innocent? Neither really diminishes the power of the movie. It's a beautifully shot, beautifully acted horror film that will stick in your mind long after the credits roll.
See the trailer for 'We Need to Talk About Kevin':