How do you deal with the aftermath of a loved one’s insane decision to take the lives of the innocent? We Need To Talk About Kevin tells the story of a mother dealing with the events leading up to her son’s slaughter of his schoolmates and her remorseful sense of responsibility for his actions.
The story, based on Lionel Shriver’s bestselling novel, is interesting enough, yet it lacks the ingredients necessary to bring everything together.
The challenging role of Kevin was portrayed by three very talented actors who managed to embody sociopathic tendencies with conviction. Tilda Swinton delivers, yet again, another wonderful performance portraying a character who is having difficulties in every aspect of her life. At the very least, you can rest assured the casting department did their job well.
Unfortunately, the favourable acting and intriguing story could not conceal the considerable shortcomings of this film. Lynne Ramsay, who co-wrote the screenplay with Rory Kinnear, directs the film, but falls short due to an abundant use of derivative artistic techniques that did not help move the story forward. The first unbearable 20 minutes of the movie consisted of constant time flips and memories to which we have no timeframe with which to work. Ms Ramsay also pummels the audience with unnecessary and monotonous symbolism.
This beat-you-over-the-head imagery can be misconstrued as art by many people who do not understand it. I am not one of those people and doubt the majority of moviegoers will be either.
Bottom line: If you enjoy endless symbolism over competent storytelling, this is the film for you.
Runtime: 112 minutes