We Need To Talk About Kevin

Directed By: Lynne Ramsay

Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and Ezra Miller

Some kids are just born monsters.  From the moment they arrive, you know they're rotten to the core.  Their parents can dish out all the love and affection in the world.  They can try to instill some semblance of moral values.  They can do everything in their power to give these black sheep normal lives.  At the end of the day, they're just pure evil in human form.  There's absolutely nothing a parent can do for them.  At least that's what I think.  Director Lynne Ramsay might think otherwise as her captivating thriller We Need To Talk About Kevin suggests.

Kevin Katchadourian (Ezra Miller) is locked away in jail for killing his father, his sister, and a countless number of students at his high school.  Once an upper middle class woman and successful travel writer, his mother Eva (Tilda Swinton) now lives in a dilapidated home and works at a travel agency in a mall near Kevin's prison.  As the film shows Eva and Kevin in the present, it also chronicles Kevin's upbringing leading up to that nightmarish day and how he made Eva's life hell on earth for years.

I don't typically advocate hurting kids, but Kevin Katchadourian is the exception.  I've never seen a more twisted, evil child on the big screen.  Despite the fact that he does everything in his power to drive his mother crazy, she still loves him.  Regardless of the terrible acts of violence he has committed, she still supports him.  Ultimately Lynne Ramsay takes horrific, brutal murders and their devastating aftermath to teach an old adage with which we're all familiar.  Ramsay definitively shows that a mother's love is the most powerful force on earth.  We Need To Talk About Kevin gives that phrase a whole new meaning.

Tilda Swinton is absolutely phenomenal as Eva Katchadourian.  In the present, there's a never-ending emptiness and a profound sorrow from which her character suffers publicly.  In the past, her character is a normal mother afflicted by an abnormal son.  She suffers just as much as her character does in the present.  However, she does so privately.  Playing a character at two different times before and after a major trauma is like playing two different roles altogether.  There's so much that changes about Eva when her son commits these vile, malicious acts.  She's a forever changed woman.  Tilda Swinton tackles each part perfectly and adds a maternal presence to the film every moment she's on screen.  In both roles, Swinton's acting is undeniably brilliant.  Her powerhouse performance in We Need To Talk About Kevin is perhaps the finest of her career.

John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller also give great performances in the film.  Reilly is just topping off a great year already.  Far different from the riotous comedy Carnage, he brings a charming stupidity to the table as Kevin's dad.  He's two-for-two with sober ratings this year so far.  Ezra Miller's chilling performance as the heartless Kevin shows that the 19-year old actor has a very promising career ahead of him.  I look forward to seeing him in future roles.

We Need To Talk About Kevin is a powerful, moving drama that relentlessly delivers thrills.  It's a bloody, brutal film that chronicles the upbringing of a murderer in a very authentic way.  It's a horrifically beautiful movie that will leave you wanting more.  With impressive performances from the cast and great directing from Lynne Ramsay, I can't give We Need To Talk About Kevin anything other than a sober rating.  It's a wholly satisfying film for which you don't need a single drop of alcohol.