Kevin Khatchadourian has always been different. As a baby, he never settles, he cries endlessly and doesn’t develop mobility and literacy skills at the rate of most other children. As a toddler (played by Rock Duer) and a small child (by Jasper Newell) Kevin drives his mother Eva (by Tilda Swinton) to utter despair as his strange behaviour continues – he frustrates her every attempt to coach and guide him. She takes him for medical checks, but they uncover nothing unusual. Kevin is loving and delightful with his father Franklin (by John C. Reilly), but is distant and almost evil towards his mother. When he reaches adolescence, Kevin (by Ezra Miller) continues to be a misfit and his bizarre behaviour towards his mother continues. Eva and Franklin don’t see eye to eye about Kevin and this causes problems in their marriage. Kevin’s behaviour continues until the climax of the movie when the audience finally sees what Kevin is capable of and the aftermath of his actions.
This movie is stunning. It is a daramatisation of a 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver and it is rugged going. The novel describes the relationship between Kevin and his mother, told in letters from Eva to Franklin. The movie does the same, through the eyes of Eva and it is blunt. The despair in Eva seeps from her in every scene as her guilt develops and her confusion turns to alarm when she experiences Kevin’s troubling actions. To her, he is a monster, inexplicably cruel and apparently inhabited by evil. The three young actors who play Kevin are marvellous and their blatant behaviour towards each parent is clear. Tilda Swinton’s performance is excellent, she need do no more but portray her emotions in her eyes and the audience is transfixed. There is little dialogue, but there doesn’t need to be. The cinematography is excellent – every minute detail is carefully crafted to build the entire picture of this life . The drama flips between present and past, but this is intelligently structured by Lynne Ramsay and can be followed without difficulty. Again I say … this is confronting, tragic and totally stunning – very well done.
Made in 2011. Directed by Lynne Ramsay