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Movie Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

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This disturbing suspense/drama film was directed by Lynne Ramsay, known for Morvern Callar (2002). Comments on various movie sites reveal a cult following. This movie could be what gets her name into the mainstream. I for one will be watching her next movie, I think this one is something different and really makes one think.

On the list of co-producers is Steven Soderbergh, known for Ocean’s Eleven and Traffic. The movie stars Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian/Kevin’s mother, John C. Reilly as Franklin/Kevin’s father, and Ezra Miller as Kevin as a teenager and a host of others.

In We Need to Talk About Kevin, we encounter a mother going back over the snapshots of her life trying to determine what made her son to commit mass murder in a Columbine-style shooting. It is a series of vignettes as if from a family album. The main character is the mother whose eyes we see the flashbacks. In the end we are left with no real answers but rather just lines that get us thinking. John C. Reilly is a happy-go-lucky father who turns a blind eye to the problem and exalts the son as a very good kid. There is a lot of dark and frightening imagery of blood and sorts of 1970s style psychedelic, spinning rooms. I wondered if it was necessary. The final truth of what happens is macabre, not remotely what you’d put in a family album.

I liked this movie a lot but I don’t know if a large audience will embrace such a film. Rather than blame the devil, we ought to be talking about kids like Kevin who threaten to kill and kill again all throughout the land. Was this movie really made to talk about Kevin? I think the name is misleading. Though a cool movie, it’s more like horror than intellectual talk. If any good comes from the film, I hope it does start discussion about raising kids so they don’t go bad like Kevin. I liked it but the many scenes of gratuitous violence caused it to lose points with me.

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About Damien Riley

I'm a movie fan from way back when I first saw "Pete's Dragon." In 1977, it sealed the deal when I saw "Star Wars." I write about the movies I see, whether I like them or not. Sometimes I like them more than words can express! I also write editorials on various topics once in a while. Check out all my online writing at my blog Riley Central.