¨There is no point. That's the point. ¨
Before we begin talking about Kevin, let’s talk about some of the technical aspect of this film which was directed by relatively unknown Scottish director, Lynne Ramsay. She got some recognition in Britain for her short film Gasman, and was later nominated for a BAFTA award for her first feature film, Ratcatcher, in 1999. We Need to Talk About Kevin is more of a breakout film for her because it did get a lot more recognition than her previous films. It even landed among many critic`s favorite movies of 2011 lists. The screenplay was adapted by first time screenwriter Rory Kinnear from the controversial 2005 novel of the same name by Lionel Shriver. The adaptation is pretty good although the film does lack a bit of pacing and it is very silent at times. Ramsay puts a little too much emphasis on style and sometimes forgets to tell the story. She bombards us with similar images over and over again, and with the color red. It`s a good exercise in style, but sometimes it could feel a bit empty if the narration doesn`t flow along with it. Malick was able to play with imagery and style much better in The Tree of Life, but here I just felt many of the things were being forced and over emphasized. I did enjoy this film a lot, but it did take me a while to get into the story. I think I enjoyed the second half of the film much more than the first. Many people walked out of the theater so I know this isn’t a movie for everyone. It is a small independent film which focuses a little more on style and art than on trying to be entertaining or just telling a story. It`s a bizarre rare film that is worth the watch if you pay close attention to the details and the performances.
The film is non-linear as it jumps back in forth in time as the protagonist, Eva Khatchadourian (Tilda Swinton), recalls her life. Her son has done something terrible, he is in prison, and she has to live with the guilt of what he`s done. The neighbors have thrown red paint all over her house and car for some reason, while we see a memory of Eva recalling one of her trips to Spain. She was having the time of her life as we see her during a famous tomato festival (the film opens with this emphasize on the color red), but her travels and adventures seem to be put on hold when her boyfriend, Franklin (John C. Reilly) leaves her pregnant. The film continues to jump back and forth as we see Eva adapting to her new life after the terrible act his son has committed and while she is pregnant and depressed with trying to adapt to her new life. We see images of her really unhappy during her pregnancy, and when her son is born she can`t seem to connect with him. Eva does all she can to raise her son Kevin (Played by Jasper Newell during his toddler years and by Ezra Miller when he`s a teen), but he seems to make her life impossible. Kevin hates his mother and defies her in every aspect. Her father seems to think he is normal, but her mother knows there is something wrong with her kid. Eva may not be the perfect loving mother, but she does try her best and is patient with the kid. She even has a second child named Celia (Ashley Gerasimovich) who turns out to be love, sweet, and innocent, everything Kevin isn`t.
We`ve seen many Hollywood films that deal with this evil born child premise. Usually they explain it by saying he is some sort of a devil spawn or something spiritual like that. This film is nothing like that. This kid, Kevin, is pure evil and we really don’t know why. Perhaps he felt the depression his mother had when he was in her womb. He never felt loved by his mother although she did try to connect with him. It`s easy to blame the mother for his behavior, but in the film we can`t see anything she might of done to him that would lead him to hate her. The only time Kevin could have felt rejected was during Eva`s pregnancy. Is it possible that the kid could`ve felt this unhappiness and depression from his mother`s womb? From the moment Kevin was born the purpose of his existence was to make his mother`s life miserable. She did care and love Kevin and tried to do her best by being forgiving, but Kevin was really incorrigible. What could her mother have done? The answer is pretty simple. Try to get help, send her kid to a psychiatrist or something. The worse thing she could`ve done was continue as if everything were normal. Her husband should`ve supported her and helped her. The real problem was that there was no communication in the family and that might be a reason the film is so silent. The performances are really terrific, especially from Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller. Swinton makes you sympathize with her at times, while Miller is just terrifying. This film worked really well as a horror film and I really enjoyed the originality of it, although I do agree it has several flaws. Still, it is a movie that haunts you and leaves you thinking about it long after the film is over.