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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 112 minutes

UK Certificate: R

We Need to Talk About Kevin is based on a smash hit book detailing the life of Eva (Swinton), a normal mother whose son – played by Miller, Newell, Duer) – grows up be a psychopathic killer who goes on a killing spree in his school. The scenes alternately take place during the aftermath of the shocking event as Eva struggles to cope with being a pariah in her community and follows Kevin’s childhood as he grows up and shows a tendency to be  a little bit anti-social.

After a frustrating opening section where the action just flits back and forth a little too much giving no time for the viewer to bed themselves in, the structure kicks in and the result is a really satisfying watch. The story is riveting and it’s slow-burning pace keeps you glued to the screen as events progress up to the present. The atmosphere of the movie is beautifully understated and filled with such depth that to dismiss it offhand as not your cup of tea would be a travesty. This is not a morality tale or psycho killer movie at all but rather a tale of survival before and after a catastrophic event. There are also flashes of black humour and pathos throughout that deservedly keeps the book’s irreverent tone.

All the main characters are extremely well-acted. Tidla Swinton is suitably worn down and doesn’t resort to hysterics throughout, John C. Reilly gives his first grown up performance for a long time and each incarnation of Kevin is disturbingly portrayed. The intricacy of the script and Direction are there in spades so that the audience is can be placed on the mother’s side but you can also never really hate the father as he seems to be in the dark most of the time.

It's Got: Impressive performances, good structure on the whole, a riveting story

It Needs: A slightly more coherent introduction to draw the audience in


A clever, touching and, at times, irreverently funny tale of a mother and a psychopathic son told with huge amounts of subtlety and depth.