March 10th, 2012

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We Need to Talk About Kevin

I have been just dying to see this movie for a while. I freakin' love really messed up dramas (guess maybe I'm just a little messed up myself). American Psycho, Requiem for a Dream, Donnie Darko, Funny Games, Frailty. People talk about the "magic of the movies" but for me, the most intense and exciting moments are when something happens on screen that makes me say "Oh \m/" and I forget to close my mouth after uttering that favorite expletive of mine because I'm just in shock because of what I've just seen. Those moments become rarer and rarer for me because at this point I've seen so many movies that it takes a lot to surprise me, and I've become so desensitized that it takes a lot more to shock me. But what I'd been hearing about ...Kevin led me to believe this might be one of those rare and magical films. ZOMG it was!

Actually, my first instincts about this movie was "oh God, another one?" since Beautiful Boy had just recently come out and tackled similar subject matter. But the two were actually very different. While ...Kevin did deal with some of the fallout of our titular boy's actions, more of it was about the build up, and the events in his life that led him to go all big and bad. Beautiful Boy was just all about the after. And the angle was different on both. ...Boy was your depressed loner type. ...Kevin was your sociopathic demon child. While the former was certainly more sympathetic, the latter was a much more interesting character. It also created a very different feel. ...Boy was a numb and depressing melodrama vs ...Kevin's more heightened and intense visceral feel.

I'll admit, this movie did take a little while to find its footing. The timeline started out a little wonky, so you had to watch how things played out before you knew which of Tilda Swinton's hairstyles corresponded to when things happened. Yeah, the hair thing kinda annoyed me as a cheap cliche, but really was the easiest way to illustrate the timeframe. Also during those early scenes, there wasn't really a lot happening. This is one of those where I dont know how well I'd have understood it if I didnt already know where things were gonna culminate.

Once things did get going, I was certainly more interested in the backstory than the aftermath. I just found Kevin to be such a compelling and twisted character, that I could not get enough. I was just waiting to see what he'd do next. It certainly had the gears in my head turning the whole time. I was thinking about how \m/ scary it would be to have a kid who turned out like that, even more scary because only Tilda Swinton could see it and her hubby (played by John C Reilly) didnt. I was also thinking about how Swinton's character could have played things differently to have maybe curbed the kid's sociopathic tendancies. And I was puzzling as to why she would stay in that town afterwards, and not just go and get a fresh start somewhere else (besides the obvious fact that we'd be missing half a movie if that were the case).

The cast certainly contribued to the awesome of the movie. Tilda Swinton had been garnering some serious Oscar buzz that she was just shy of capitalizing on. I know I overuse phrases like "so and so carried the movie" or that they "anchored the film", but its true. She did. Kinda awesome. Also awesome is John C Reilly getting back into the dramatic. I love him as a comic actor, but he is incredibly underrated on the drama side (which is where I think I prefer him). Wonderful to see him return to where he started, and I really hope that he figures out that delicate genre balance. And our Kevin, Ezra Miller, was simply mezmorizing. Holy \m/ I just realized why some of his tone and inflections sounded familiar. I was thinking that he sounded a lot like some other equally disturbed character, but I couldnt place it til now. Christian Slater in Heathers! Granted Heathers was approaching psychotic high schooler from a comedic angle, but some of the same underlying themes are there. That aside, this kid was so hauntingly disturbed. I often describe actors as brightening up the screen, where you just sort of perk up whenever they appear. He was the opposite of bright, but it still had the same end result if that makes sense.

Definitely very much worth the wait, and certainly one of those movies that stays with you.

We Need to Talk About Kevin - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/