Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We Need to Talk About Kevin

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

We Need to Talk About Kevin – 5 out of 5

As a child, if you hear a phrase like “We need to talk about Kevin” and you’re Kevin, there is a good chance you’re a trouble making kid and probably did something like shave the cat or shaved your little sister’s hair into a Mohawk or shaved off your dad’s eyebrows in his sleep or did something shave related (I don’t really know what kind of trouble kids get into because I was too busy playing Dungeons & Dragons, reading comic books and grooming my future adult self for a long, sexless life). Sometimes, however, when a parent tells another parent that they need to talk about their child (in this case; Kevin) the talk isn’t about how they need to curb the shaving incidents but rather something much worse. That’s what we see in We Need to Talk About Kevin.

It’s really hard to describe the film without going into spoilers but I’ll do my best…

We Need to Talk About Kevin is about a young married couple; Eva and Franklin (Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly) who fall head over heels in love and start a life together. Eventually, Eva becomes pregnant and Eva is forced to deal with the fact her life is about to change. Until that moment, Eva was a woman of the world who loved to travel and live her life to fullest and she felt a child would end the roller coaster ride she was on. Eventually, Kevin is brought into this world and Eva can’t handle him. He’s troublesome and confrontational to her while Franklin is oblivious to the fact there could be something wrong with his son. As Kevin ages, he becomes more difficult to handle and Eva starts to fear that he could do something tragic…ultimately, he does.

"I'm Queen of the Tomatoes!!!  I hope I never have children that ultimate ruin
this experience for me!"

Two great very unattractive kiss.
What makes this film so engaging to watch, aside from the strong performances and thought-provoking and emotionally heavy story is the way the plot is unfolded in front of the audience. The film is not told in a linear fashion but rather through a series of “jumping” around the timeline. One moment we’re seeing Kevin as a lippy little boy of 8 still wearing diapers and talking back to his mother and the next we see Eva alone and dealing with mysterious hostility of the townspeople. This gimmick forces the audience to keep their eyes glued to the screen and think openly about what happened to bring Eva to this point. Director Lynn Ramsay abandons the passive style that usually dominates our media (whether it be television, film or books) and forces the viewer to become active when watching the film; combining all the knowledge we are being spoon fed in small doses together until the film’s big reveal.

Damn...her disappointing stare makes me want to confess to wrong doing I didn't
even commit.

With the route the film paves already making for a prime breeding ground for an attention span to develop; the film doesn’t stop there and showcases some incredibly emotional performances from the cast. Whether it be from John C. Reilly as the father who either consciously or unconsciously ignores the warning sign of his troubled son and pleas of his wife and proving that Reilly is one of the most versatile actors working now as he can be funny and serious as he needs to be or if it’s Swinton’s quiet but incredibly strong performance of a woman numb from the pain that can’t be described and a world that will never EVER be the same. Even the role of Kevin—a role that has the potential to come off either as a cartoon villain or as potential horror flick fodder—was delivered eloquently and chillingly.

And to think...this is the same guy who makes me urinate myself from laughter in
Step Brothers.

Jasper Newell plays a young Kevin and is so convincing that you stop thinking of him as an actor playing a troubled, bratty child but start to actually BELIEVE he’s Kevin; the troubled, bratty child and you want to jump through the screen of your TV and spank his ass FOR Eva.

You ever wonder what Rosemary's baby looked like as a toddler?

And here's Rosemary's baby as a teenager who loves
Panic! At the Disco.
Ezra Miller takes over the role for scenes of Kevin as a teenager and makes the role darker but still very believable. Other than the fact Miller is incapable of wearing shirts that fit, has the face of an alien trying his best to pretend to be human and looks like he should be the frontman in a Fall Out Boy cover band, Miller really takes the role of the once undisciplined child and turns him into an angst-ridden teen unconnected from the reality around him. However, the desire to jump into the screen and bring a beating down on him like Thor’s hammer on some Ice Giants still remains.

I think the ill-fitting shirts were a way for the director to make you hate Kevin.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of those powerful films that gets you thinking after the credits are done and the DVD menu is now repeating itself over and over again. A hypnotic performance from Tilda Swinton and the rest of the cast leaves an impression long after the movie is over. In the end, We Need to Talk About Kevin is an incredibly profound, insightful and creative film that leaves an impact on you.

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