We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of those films that gives me immense interest. I was given the task to read part of the book in college and, having not enough time to finish it, I decided to watch the film instead. It interested me because I wanted to look into the life of a murderer; the causes, the build up, the actual crime. It is something that people often ponder over; watch the news and you see a man walked into a school and kill a class full of children and you wonder why on earth someone do such a thing. It poses avid fascination for me, and explores whether it was the mothers fault in not bringing her son up right that caused him to become a murderous psychopath.
Kevin is portrayed by three different people in the film, Rock Duer (toddler) Jasper Newall (6-8 years) and Ezra Miller. Newall, as a child actor, does extremely well with his role. He mastered the cold, inexpressive look and portrayed it with ease, causing the audience to immediately feel uncomfortable with his presence. However the focus on this character should be on Miller, as he portrays Kevin when he commits the crime. Continuing with the persona that Newall creates, he gradually spirals into the psychopath that commits the crimes with such fluency and ease and believability that it’s hard to think of him as anything but (until you see him as Patrick in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in which he completely softens your heart.) To be able to play such different roles is a task not easy for many actors, but for Miller it’s something that comes naturally.
Never have I seen a film that left my eyes so glued to the screen. But it wasn’t because of high-octane action. It wasn’t because of all of the special effects and CGI, or a star-studded cast. No, this film had none of these, except for the scene where Kevin massacres the children, which I will congratulate the costume and make up department for dressing it up so vividly.
No, it was the fact that it was so realistic, and so right, that I had to keep watching and see what happens. To watch the internal struggle of a mother who blames herself for her son’s horrific actions, it is absolutely fascinating, and chilling to think that these sorts of people do exist, they are out there. It’s even more likely to happen in a country that gives weapons so freely. It puts everything into perspective and makes you think: what if my kid turns out to be a serial killer?
But most of all it brings the question: If I don’t bring my child up in precisely the right way, could I be responsible for his negative actions?
One of my favourite films I’ve seen to date, stunningly realistic yet simple, I would recommend this film to anyone. Well done Lynne Ramsay, I applaud you.
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