We Need to Talk About Kevin Review
“Ramsay's Return To Form. It Thought Provoking, Tense, All Engrossing, Actors Showing Their Audience What They Have Got- Showing The Humanity In The Most Awful Of Situations.”
October 27th, 2011
Lynn Ramsay's film adaptation of Lionel Shrivers novel about the bond of both Mother and Child and the brutality and insidious outlook on the brooding sense of unattainable isolation and undeserving undoubtedly evil presences between Mam and Son. Though how do you translate and whole 500 page book whose narrative is written via letter to the leads husband. Well what Ramsey does is through flashbacks, but flashbacks consistent with the now present day wanderings and living of Tilda Swintons Eva Khatchadourian- a grieving, tormented guilt riddled women whose having her home coated in thick paint, getting slapped across the face by locals, having local children screeching through her letter box "murderer murderer". Those who know the cultural nationalism and huge scope and well acclaimed and highly praised book this is, then you may know the history of its long running time in the charts- may have even read this master class piece that is analytical, astute and powerful in all forms. This film is masterful in the sense that its got an all powerful emotive, malicious, tense taunt t story, tightened by Ramsay's use of colours, but not done in such a way that you can be boisterous and too observing and reduce this film into a back catalogue to analyse, and to try and pick apart, from a veritable dark masterful piece yes many can be too analytical and just see it as nonchalant simplistic symbolic and metaphorical piece of art. But no, what Ramsay does is not over indulge in- oh the colour of red can be read like this and interpreted, oh yes the long shot, oh this, oh the tracking shot- stop there. Some films are made to be analysed and pocketed as "art-house" but this is just a story, a story that has central enthusiasm and gusto thrown out through the performance, and the cinematography does add a vibe, a feel, and the shots do of course tell a tale, but this film isn't made like so many others to be nit-picketed,and overtly misread. Anyone can read the signs of washing away red from her hands of- shes washing away the sin and guilt- or interpreted as just washing her hands- but i hate critics or just dismal youths who like to see Ramsay as- spiritualist who creates huge mantras and shots for us to read- read it as it is.
This is a very dark, nostalgic piece of horror/ psychological niche that is apple pie to me. Beautifully enjoyable, to see actors of this accord perform and breath something into these characters. Tilda is central and is always on screen and it is both vivid and beautiful, but awful at the same time- admiration for the performances, guilt, anger, passion, lust, utter torment for this women of this position- coping with a treacherous son, evil- vile- meticulously enthused, a sly smart arse, a charming in his land, a very powerful tour from Ezra Miller.
Lynn has not made a film in almost a decade, and to see something handled with as much care here as Spielberg did with Schindlers list is just endogenously directivity masterful. Full of scary tense moments, full of moments that are tended, full of moments that will leave you wondering about parenthood, overall a film that in all its glory is something to admire and to think through.
So don't jump gun- don't misread this as an art type film- its a movie that has a beautiful sheen and a great DoP but don't try and interpret what's not there its just useless.
With the soup cans, the washing of her hands, the streaked red paint it does symbolise blood, and death and revenge and lust and love, but that's all it is, the slow moving shots, the eerily slow moment between Her and her Son are done just through pure severity of emotion and the power that Ramsay holds within the world of cinema. Films as these are looked at as "oh- weird, connective shite- but when you look for answers in the shots and photography- oh yeah its quite clever"- no just no! Don't reduce good cinema into something to write an essay on- it takes the beauty out of cinema.
It thought provoking, tense, all engrossing, actors showing their audience what they have got- showing the humanity in the most awful of situations. Take tissues, don't go in with expectations as you will either leave after the ending feeling angry, saddened, guilty, pitiful, or leaving feeling pride for Tilda's take on this beguiled, low low women.
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