We Need to Talk About Kevin
Posted by martinteller on June 13, 2012
I’m having a hell of a time trying to write this review. The movie feels perilously flawed to me, but every flaw I think of can be counteracted with some kind of “It’s supposed to be that way, because of this…” argument. John C. Reilly’s character is an absurdly oblivious father and husband? That’s because it’s all from Swinton’s perspective, dummy! There’s no attempt to explain Kevin’s psychopathology? That’s not what the movie’s about, dummy! The lyrics to the soundtrack choices are far too on-the-nose? That’s tongue-in-cheek comedy, dummy!
I’m just not sure what to think about this movie. But it made me feel awful (because it’s a horror movie, dummy!). It was certainly effective at building dread, utilizing its fractured timeline to show you the consequences before the action so you’re waiting for that shoe to drop. On that point, I give Ramsay credit for her craftsmanship, the editing of snippets into thematic collages. Yes, it was very good indeed at making me feel awful… for Eva, for Kevin, for everyone. But I didn’t want to feel awful. It was unpleasant to watch this movie.
I could stop there, I guess, but I don’t want to cop out too much. Swinton is great, as she pretty much always is. I wouldn’t say any of the other performances are that good, but Reilly’s in a chumpified role and the various kids playing Kevin aren’t meant to be anything but creepy and off-putting, I suppose (dummy!). Maybe I need to sleep on it a while, and maybe I’ll update my review in the morning. Right now, I feel cheated in some ways, ways that maybe I shouldn’t… but right now I’m going with my gut. Rating: Fair