WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
MOVIE: ***** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
One of the most chilling films of 2011 did not involve ghosts, traditional monsters, computer-generated creatures or aliens. It was a true-to-life sort of film that hits hard for me, as a parent and as a person. That film was “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” and it takes a brave look at the psychology behind a psychopath.
The movie tells the story, brilliantly and confusingly out of order, of Eve (Tilda Swinton) who is dealing with her first born child Kevin (Ezra Miller). A problem child from birth, Kevin fought against authority, refusing potty training and displaying signs of violence and anger with no remorse. Eve’s husband (John C. Reilly) is ever optimistic about Kevin’s plight, but Eve senses something is terribly wrong and possibly that Kevin has it in for her. When Kevin reaches adolescence, his problems become more pronounced, which eventually leads to a violent and tragic occurrence.
The most impactful part of this film is showing a daisy-chain of failures that Eve faces as a parent. While it’s easy to dismiss the subject matter of this film as too fantastic, it’s all-too-realistic in today’s world. Too many parents employ a tactic of ignoring behavior with the hopes that it works itself out. One only needs to watch the news on a regular basis to realize these things don’t always work out for the best themselves.
Tilda Swinton is the support of this film, offering a complicated look at a woman in trouble who has no idea how to deal with the problems life has dealt her. She rarely does the best thing for herself, her family and her community, but these choices are realistic. And that’s part of what’s so terrifying.
The most chilling aspect of this film is how dangerous the world can be for anyone, even in the safest environments we can imagine. Even if you do everything right, tragedy can strike and do irrefutable harm to you and your loved ones. And there’s often no one to blame for this.
It’s not an easy film to watch, but it’s a significant one. It will challenge your thoughts on family and humanity, and to keep ourselves vigilant, those thoughts should be challenged periodically.
The two-disc special edition of “We Need to Talk About Kevin” includes both the DVD and Blu-ray of the film. Special features include the “Behind the Scenes of Kevin” featurette, plus footage from the “La Tomatina” festival in Spain, an “In Conversation” interview with Tilda Swinton at Telluride, and interview with author Lionel Shriver and the original theatrical trailer.