We Need to Talk About Kevin

FILM review by Alison Grinter

STARRING: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

TBC. 112 minutes

We Need To Talk About Kevin is one of those rare films which is actually better than the source novel which inspired it. Director Lynne Ramsay has jettisoned author Lionel Shriver’s droning, one-tone narration for an dynamic viewing experience which jangles the nerves and unsettles the soul. It’s exactly what watching a film about the genesis of a serial killer should feel like.

Tilda Swinton is supremely sympathetic as the guilt-ridden mother, Eva, living in a tatty, cash-strapped purgatory of her own making after her sociopathic son Kevin (played as a teenager by Ezra Miller to chilling effect) goes on a Columbine-style shooting. The story is told simultaneously from three different time-frames: the past, present and future (involving a meeting between mother and son in a high security prison) creating a frenetic pace which never lets up.

Ramsay is an extraordinary director. Her unique style, honed on low-budget flicks like Morven Caller, finds its fullest expression here. At the risk of making Pseud’s Corner in Private Eye, I’d go as far as to say she’s created a new visual language for screen which is layered and textured and has the power to make viewers squirm with discomfort. The scene where Kevin chews on a perfectly cylindrical lychee, just as we learn his younger sister has lost her eye, is a case in point. The soundtrack of sunny pop, set discordantly against a simmering mood of anger and resentment, is another masterstroke. She overdoes the red lietmotif (see cans pictured) and John C Reilly is miscast as Kevin’s father, but in all, a fine film.

Good for: Those who thought Lionel Shriver didn’t realise the story’s full potential in her book.



STARRING: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law

Certification 12A. 106 minutes.

Many crimes have been committed in the name of the “disaster movie” but if anyone can avoid the cliches and pitfalls of the genre, it’s Steven Soderbergh. The thinking person’s Hollywood director has plotted a tense sci-fi thriller about a lethal airborne virus which fast becomes a global pandemic triggering panic and societal breakdown. The film features a stellar cast and a level of scientific accuracy which has been praised by academics.


The Greatest Movie Ever Sold


STARRING: Morgan Spurlock, J.J. Abrams, Peter Berg

Certification 12A. 90mins.

For his new documentary, the Super Size Me and 30 Days director goes behind closed doors at some of the biggest advertising agencies in the world to investigate how corporate branding has managed to invade our everyday lives.

On General Release