Virginia Film Festival: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Posted on November 7, 2011 by

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Saturday night’s screening of We Need to Talk About Kevin at the Downtown Regal Cinema provided the audience an advance viewing of Lynne Ramsay’s intense new psychological thriller.  One of many sold out screenings at this year’s festival, the showing brought in a fairly young audience, who waited in eager anticipation for the film to begin.

The film stars Tilda Swinton as Eva, the grief-stricken mother of a teenage boy who one day goes on a massive killing spree at his high school.  Adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name, the film explores Eva’s relationship with her son from his birth to the present and the crucial events leading up to that day.  The very deliberate sequencing of the flashbacks in the film reveals only small details at a time, leading up to an unforgettable climax at the end of the movie.  As the plot gradually progresses, you crave more information, dying to know what happened and why, though by the end you almost wish you didn’t.  Swinton’s performance has received accolades from a number of critics, and Ezra Miller delivers a chilling performance as her son Kevin. The soundtrack was uncomfortably upbeat, contrasting sharply with the action in each scene and the overall dismal feel created by the production.  It sought to highlight even further Eva’s emotional struggle where a more somber soundtrack would have seemed too obvious. The experience of watching this film in a full theater intensified the feelings evoked by the plot.  The director had a motive to shock, to sadden, and to horrify, and the feeling that dozens of strangers in the room were experiencing the same emotions was indescribable.  During the intense last minutes of the film, it felt as though the entire audience was holding its breath.  As a result, the atmosphere leaving the film was remarkably different than that entering it.  The formerly cheerful and excited crowd left quiet and somber, but thoughtful.

The film will hit theaters December 9, and was named Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival.

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