We Need To Talk About Kevin


Tilda Swinton stars as Eva, and the film recounts her life before and after her son going on a massacre at his high school.

The phrase ‘hard watching’ was invented for this type of film, which is particularly heavy and grim but also hugely engrossing and undeniably masterful. The twin performances of Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller (Kevin) make for truly spectacularly chilling viewing. Swinton starts the film as a care free adventurer and gradually becomes a postnatal depressed mother and struggles to relate to the deeply troubled Kevin (the most evil infant since chucky). As time goes on, Kevin grows more evil and sinister, manipulative and malicious, terrifying and unpredictable to watch. The time line shifts between a before and after of the event, the before showing the inescapable tell tale signs that something monstrous is brewing, whilst the after shows Swinton as a shadow, consumed with guilt and hate. Swinton really cements her status as one of the great actors of our time. Without speaking a word the affect of this tragedy is etched across the contours of her face. So emotive is her face, the dialogue becomes secondary. Miller on the other hand plays Kevin with a chilling subtlety, awkwardly dressed in clothes that are too small, sly looks that bore into the viewers soul, and a devilish smile make him a tangible terror. It’s a part to be relished and the coldness of his performance will linger on in the mind some days after viewing.

It’s both harrowing and haunting; the motif of red, which appears in almost every frame, bathes this film with a sense of danger and dread. It’s a deeply unsettling affair, and definitely one to be tackled in the right frame of mind.


About Author

Alan Dunn

Alan Dunn, Cinema Without Borders' Blog Editor, lives in UK. In 2006 he completed his undergraduate course in Media Studies at the University of Paisley and was awarded an Upper Second Class Honors Degree. In 2007 Alan went on to undertake a yearlong postgraduate course in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2008 with a Master Degree. Cinema has been a lifelong passion of Alan Dunn and he enjoy researching and writing about it.

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