Saturday, 22 October 2011

We Need To Talk About Kevin, dir. Lynne Ramsay, scr. Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear, based on the novel by Lionel Shriver, st. Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

When Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan came out last year I was defending to the hilt its schlocky and B-movie allusions in the face of accusations that the horror somehow polluted the picture's cerebral thematic thrust, and I think that film remains a polarising one. I find it odd then that I sit here and accuse WNTTAK of pretty much the same thing, for it shares much of Black Swan's DNA. WNTTAK comprises one part Polanski's Rosemary's Baby (no-one believes her child is evil) one part Joseph Ruben's The Good Son (child undoing the family) and one part Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction (child undoing the family with added pet-slaying) and it plays just as melodramatically. You soon realise that the film's title is its greatest misdirection - no one actually talks about Kevin, and I'm reliably informed (though I haven't read it) is all the book does. My main issue is this: if you're seeking to do an insightful character study on the debate of nature versus nurture, if your aim is to say, look, here's the mother of this child that's done this terrible thing, what's making her tick, then for heaven's sake don't package it up as a kind of Video Nasty from the  90s, because then the feeling is that it starts to feel less like it's informing and more like it's entertaining. I was expecting something solemn and meditative and I felt I kind of got hokum.