This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
James Villat’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
We picked this film for another one of our psycho-thriller movie night, and by its end we had three camps: one person who hated it, two who we're in the middle and one who loved it. Whether that's an accurate representation of a modern audience is up to debate, but I was in the middle!
Things I LOVED:
- Tilda Swinton's earthly intensity makes it almost impossible for your attention to slip away.
- The film is cerebral in its symbolism, and diamond cut in its cinematography.
What didn't work for me [tw]:
- It's non-linear storytelling.
- The pure wickedness of Kevin, even from an early age.
School shooters are wicked, and they are troubled, but to me, the film depicts almost a horror film-esque wickedness to Kevin. It doesn't truly explore the dissolution of Kevin's mental health, rather he seemingly came to the world as an evil child.
The film also utilizes non-linear storytelling with two timelines: pre-event,and post-event. While seeing a mother pay for her child's heinous actions is evoking, but I think Eva as the town's scapegoat and the rock-bottom that she suffers is all the post-event timeline had to offer. The pre-event on the other hand, has a tense rising action, and a numbing climax, it feels like the strength of the movie. Traditional storytelling with pre-event as its first, and second arc, and the post-event as a the film's falling action in the third could've worked.
However, We Need to Talk About Kevin still provides a strong question to the nature of wickedness and power, with the use of some masterful images and deeply human characteristics. In this film Kevin is bad, and Ramsay ponders in this concept of badness, one that still perplexes academia and us today, locking our gaze with its displeasing outcomes.