Find us on facebook

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"We Need to Talk About Kevin", maternity's guilt

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Proceed with care. One of the most sacred taboos in history (I assume in the majority of cultures, but I'm referring to Western tradition) is, without a doubt, maternity. Maternity is always linked, defined with tenderness, sacrifice, courage, sweetness, love, knowledge... and learning. But "We Need to Talk About Kevindynamites this taboo. Warning made. 

Director Lynney Ramsay, adapting the homonym novel by Lionel Shriver, explains us a maternity case that is a terrible process. Doubts, extreme pain, utter defeat and desolation. That's maternity for Eva Khatchadourian, played Tilda Swinton, a masterful actress that gives another lesson in an incredibly difficult role, dealing with a monstrous kid, Kevin. Swinton is the movie, and she carries the weight in her shoulders with fierce conviction. 

Ramsay's structures the film as a constant back and forth in time, but despite being confusing sometimes (especially during the first minutes) it makes sense. The focus is always in Eva's drama, and it largely takes place in her tortured, and isolated mind. From her now desolated present, she remembers her romance with Kevin's father, Franklin, played by John C. Reilly, her trips, but also how she got pregnant, how Kevin was born, how he grew up, and how she struggled, from almost the very beginning, in her attempt to understand his devilish son. Like the theme images, the tomatoes, the red paint, the blood, all is connected in Eva's mind, With the mixture of different periods of their past and the present, we soon realise the parents failure will have a horrible climax. We see that Eva tries to piece together her life after that, but one wonders if she wouldn't prefer to be dead instead. 

"We Need to Talk About Kevin" is disturbing, not for what is shows, but for the number of questions it poses and how unafraid it is to push the boundaries of maternity's preconceived notions. Intrigues the viewer, and removes something inside. Praise Ramsay for being that brave. And as I already said, praise Swinton to portray so well, so convincingly, the face (and physiognomy, that serves so well to her role) of the devastated mother. 

But not everything works in the film. Sure, Kevin is pure evil, so bad that, no matter his age (he's played by three different actors) he has such an evil look that makes any movie villain pale by comparison. Is that credible? And Franklin, the father. Can anyone be so clueless about his son? How can he ignore it? While watching, I had the impression he was the dumbest character I ever seen on screen, giving the magnitude of the disaster. A couple of relevant facts for the development of the story were also strange/ bad resolved for me. Foremost the aforementioned climax (leaves quite a lot to the simple acceptance of the viewer) but also, the trial, the cruel treatment of the neighbours (understandable just to a certain point) and office colleagues. And the resolution of the film looks a bit tricky to me (don't worry, won't spoil it). Yeah, maternity impulses, a collapsed mind through we see it all, and the willing to know the reasons can justify almost everything. But as the poor Eva, looking for answers, not many will come. 

Intriguing, thoughtful, brave, with a fantastic Tilda Swinton, but not fully convincing.

SCORE: 6,5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment