We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

we-need-to-talk-about-kevinA long time ago a hateful loathsome woman gave birth to a sociopathic little shit who grew up and turned in to a murderer. There, I just saved you two hours of one of the most irritating movies to arrive in theaters this year. A waste of talent and of time, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is about nothing more than the searing hatred felt between a mother and a son and what results out of apathy, neglect, and outright torturous mental abuse. This is basically the origin of Michael Myers. An upright well adjusted family bringing up a young boy in a suburban home, all of whom seem normal but are filled with maladjusted individuals who one day awake to discover their boy is a disgusting monster who offers nothing to society.

And what’s worse is that it’s two hours of mean-spirited, horrible, painful metaphor and clunky symbolism that bounces off the frame in abundance (ooh red as in blood! Red as in the blood on Eva’s hands! Yes! We get it!) and provides no sense of subtlety. From the goofy reds symbolizing the raw violence that ensued to the ridiculous flashbacks to where it all began, “We Need To Talk About Kevin” attempts to trace back to the very beginning and asks audiences to figure out where it all went wrong. Why does Eva find it so rough loving her son? Why does her son pick up on her neglect and loathing from the outset? Why does son Kevin find it easy to communicate with his father whose relationship with him is based around manipulation? Why should we even care about these characters?

“We Need to Talk About Kevin” sets up many scenarios to not just care for these folks but to get down to the psychology of it all. But when it can delve in to the psychology, it instead revolves around slapdash directorial tricks and goofy editing that attempts to dazzle rather than posit an analysis. Tilda Swinton has the ability to rise above any material, it’s just everyone else who gets pulled down in to the depths of this abysmal tale of a mother and a son at war. John C. Reilly serves no purpose except to act as a tool for his son’s manipulation, while the introduction of a new child in the fold serves no real function other than to really sell how evil Kevin is. He tortures his sister relentlessly to the point of near death.

Because he’s evil! Get it? Yes, we get it Lynne Ramsay, it’s painfully clear how we’re supposed to see Kevin, but it’s never clear where we’re supposed to be with him. Should we fear or sympathize with him? Pity or loath him? The movie never quite figures it out thus we’re left with a cloudy resolution that does nothing to answer any questions and merely turns Kevin in to a snarling bastard who does little to make us feel what the movie was supposed to originally do: Help us analyze where love ends and sociopathy begins. An irritating, morbid, and unfocused picture, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” clubs us over the head with clunky metaphor and goofy symbolism, all the while failing to ultimately conclude what we came to watch in the first place. It’s a waste of talent and a waste of time.