There are a lot of movies and television shows that really explore the criminal mind. With “We Need to Talk About Kevin” we get a slightly different take on it. Instead of watching things from the killer’s perspective, one of the victims, or even an omnipresent point of view, we get the story told through the eyes of the killer’s mother. It’s a disturbing story that will have you leaving the theater talking about it for a long time after the credits roll.
Eva, played by Tilda Swinton, goes to visit her son, Kevin, in prison. As she goes through her day-to-day routines we are treated to flashbacks of her past with her family; such as when she gives birth to Kevin. They don’t quite connect as child and mother should which is off-putting. Kevin shows signs of being a sociopath but Eva can’t convince her husband, Franklin, played by John C. Reilly, to take her seriously. He dismisses everything she tells him. What is it Kevin is planning on doing?
The acting is really great in this movie. Tilda Swinton delivers a top notch performance as a mother who you can tell might actually dislike her own son. Both of the kids playing her son did a fine job playing a sociopath. The acting was believable at making the character seem manipulative and was easily more disturbing than Damien in “The Omen.” John C. Reilly brings the audience a serious style role as the goofy father who can’t take his wife seriously. It’s good to see him return to his roots from time to time and do something more down to earth.
The plot itself will have you either debating with your fellow movie goers on child psychology, or it will have you sort of stewing in the disturbed juices of what you just witnessed. Kevin comes from a wealthy family. I am left wondering why they didn’t get him psychological help. He kills small animals, he is manipulative, avoids intimacy, has lack of remorse- these and more are textbook signs that the kid is a sociopath and heading down a path to be a danger to society. When the family has a second child, she immediately becomes victim to Kevin’s abuse.
Then of course there is the fact that we are dealing with Eva after the crime so the town pretty much hates her. She is openly attacked by some of the victim’s parents. I understand their anger. It just seems so misdirected. It probably should be towards the teenage wasteland that killed so many people. It’s not as if Eva doesn’t experience loss in this film on a grand scale.
There are a few flaws to this movie. The music choice is rather bizarre in contrast to the mood. There are also scenes that seem to tell rather than show. If there was a way they explain by showing us exactly what the hell was going on in scenes that would help. Still, these things are relatively minor and don’t seem to cause a huge problem that it utterly devastates the movie experience for me.
If you are looking for a decent drama “We Need to Talk About Kevin” certainly does the trick. The story is good, the acting is very solid and the theme will leave you thinking long after it is over. It’s a smart movie that really is well done and is relevant and worth seeing. If you want to reaffirm your decision not to have kids or even that spanking is the way to go then you’ll appreciate this movie. It’s a chilling look into raising an insane mind.