We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Feature Film | Drama | UK/USA | English | 1h52m
Dir: Lynne Ramsay | Scr: Lynne Ramsay & Rory Kinnear | Novel: Lionel Shriver | DP: Seamus McGarvey | Prod: Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, & Robert Salerno | Mus: Jonny Greenwood | Ed: Joe Bini | PD: Judy Becker Cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich
With a bit of ‘90s-era Atom Egoyan-like mosaicism added to Ramsay’s usual painterly lyricism, Shriver’s novel here is skilfully brought to the screen with a visual language that perfectly captures the complex, abstract emotions felt by its guilt- and grief-stricken protagonist. The fact that said central figure is brought to life by the ever excellent Swinton, with able support from the more-than-reliable Reilly and the mesmerising Miller, only goes to further support the film’s rightful grasp for art house greatness. However, despite its pedigree and ambition, this thoughtful examination of the aftermath of a high school shooting – minus the shooting (the killer was a keen archer) – falls just short of the aforementioned Canadian auteur’s similarly themed explorations of the emotional desolation found in the wake of tragedy, namely – Exotica (1994) and The Sweet Hereafter (1997). But then again, what doesn’t? In fact, so powerful is Ramsay’s effort that it feels decidedly churlish to compare it to any other works, never mind such great ones... I could further add to the unkindness by noting that it also doesn’t quite reach the standards set by her previous two features – Ratcatcher (1999) and Morvern Callar (2002) – but that would just be being cruel. Essential viewing.