We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)


Often movies address a need for some voice to explore a certain idea, even if the implementation might be a bit shoddy. This movie attacks a necessary topic but does so in a way that while proficient in technique misses an opportunity to make the story come alive.

As many know, screenwriting possesses its own discipline of technique over content much as songwriting does, based on the kind of spreadsheet-logic that shows the sweet spot where 77% of people in a crowd understand and appreciate a gesture, which in aggregate makes the product successful. This “workshop style” of screenwriting arrives at this movie most likely through the book on which it is based, and prevents any wholehearted recommendation of this film. It addresses the mother of a child described as “evil” who is at the very least troubled in the kind of apathetic direction toward sociopathy that arises in children of narcissistic parents. Therein we find the issue, which is the question of what produced this child? His parents are not only narcissistic but have delusions of grandeur and apparently a fair amount of money; the child is also of mixed-race and somewhat gender-mixed as well. Kevin appears in this film as troubled from his youngest days through adulthood, but what is more difficult to watch is the obliviousness of parental response, and it is perhaps in this that the intent of this film rests: people are focused on using others as means to their own ends, and as a result, they raise children in a void of common sense, actual love, concern, discipline, authority and attention. Children are designed to be accessories to the self-importance — measured in career, wealth, social prestige and other external accomplishments — of the parents. As a result, children are left empty and unattended, and sometimes one of those takes that in a hostile direction.

While no spoilers will be given here, the plot is not hard to figure out since it is as said above “workshop style,” which means that it is based on the predictability of things and the reactions of people as if they were simply complex chemical compounds in unique situations. In my view, this is what makes We Need To Talk About Kevin somewhat tedious: it is wholly linear despite attempts of the filmmaker to break up the narrative over different threads in time. The story itself is linear. Narcissists raise child, cannot snap out of their own little worlds to do something about it and then… and then, what you might expect would happen happens, and the viewer ends up without much sympathy for anyone involved.


Tags: ,

9 thoughts on “We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)”


    Betrayer is going to release their latest album this year and so will Polish death metal band Magnus.

    Anybody remembers Magnus ?Used to tour a lot with Imperator and Vader in the early days…

    Scarlet Slaughterer 1989

    I Was Watching My Death 1992

  2. Concerned Citizen says:

    The first Terminator movie is the best.

    Better jacket = Better movie


    1. Phil says:

      Terminator 2 is my favourite movie of all time. T1 is like that shitty rough demo that hipsters insist on lauding over a band’s sophomore debut. The elements are all there, but don’t kid yourselves.

      I even got T2 Arnie staring at me from my desktop background.

      1. Concerned Citizen says:

        Woah… the tearing out of the punk’s heart and crushing it in his hand was one of the best movie scenes (Then again, I don’t watch artsy-fartsy crap – just violent or funny stuff.). The future war scenes were cool too. Also, I’d rather hear new wave than GNR.

        Terminator 2 is still cool though but T1 is definitely not a bad movie. Campy, maybe, but not bad.

      2. trystero says:

        Both movies have essentially the same formula. Protagonists being chased down by something `impossible to kill`. What you have to ask yourself if who plays that role better? Arnie or the no-name cop from T2? T1 has some classic scenes, the police station scene for instance; its at that point one realizes that ordinary security is powerless against this threat and the film takes on a new dimension. T2 is a great movie, very worthy sequel, but T1 is pretty special.

  3. I blew my head off like Per Ohlin says:

    I watched this a few years back. It was okay but didn’t really move me in any way.

  4. Mighty Pelvis Crusher says:

    When come the board game reviews?

    1. RH says:

      “The game falls flat as it tries to achieve the sense-experience of being at the mercy of a chaotic nature that cares not for the hopes, dreams, or even surival of the human, as an individual or group. Once you discover (through multiple playthroughs) that the whole feeling of potential sudden carastrophe lurking around every corner is actually a sham – the traps are obviously set up in such a way that some player is statistically bound to land on one by chance – then you realize that the artificiality of it all casts a permament shadow on any subsequent playhrough of the game – a sort of oh-here-we-go-again feeling, punctuated with a sigh of resolution. This is the main failure of Snakes and Ladders.”

  5. aspic says:

    Movie was quite bad and cartoonsih.

Comments are closed.

Classic reviews: