Saturday, April 21, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Poikani Kevin / Vi måste prata om Kevin. GB/US 2011 (year of release) © 2010 UK Film Council / BBC Films / Independent. P: Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, Bob Salerno. D: Lynne Ramsay. SC: Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear - based on the novel (2003) by Lionel Shriver (in Finnish: Helsinki: Avain, 2006, translated by Sari Karhulahti). DP: Seamus McGarvey. PD: Judy Becker. AD: Charles Kulsziski. Set dec: Heather Loeffler. Cost: Catherine George. Makeup: Maya Hardinge. Hair: Michelle Johnson. SFX: Drew Jiritano. VFX: Sean Farrow. Computer virus designer credited. M: Jonny Greenwood. Playlist: the music selections are important. S: Paul Davies. ED: Joe Bini. Loc: Connecticut (Norwalk, Stamford), New York City. C: Tilda Swinton (Eva Khatchadourian), John C. Reilly (Franklin Plaskett), Ezra Miller (Kevin Khatchadourian), Jasper Newell (six-eight-year-old Kevin), Rocky Duer (infant Kevin), Ashley Gerasimovich (Celia Khatchadourian), Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Wanda), Alex Manette (Colin). 112 min. Released in Finland by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Kaisa Cullan / Carina Laurila-Olin. Viewed at Kinopalatsi 2, Helsinki, 21 April 2012.

Technical specs (IMDb): Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon L-Series Lenses, Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, Panavision C-, E-Series and ATZ Lenses, Panavision Panaflex Platinum, Panavision C-, E-Series and ATZ Lenses. - Laboratory: DeLuxe, London, UK (prints), LipSync Post, London, UK (digital intermediate). - Film negative format: 35 mm (Fuji Eterna Vivid 500T 8547). - Cinematographic process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Panavision (anamorphic) (source format). - Aspect ratio: 2.35:1.

Kevin's mother struggles to understand that her son has become a mass murderer, killing his father, sister, teachers, and schoolmates, before turning 16.

Movies relevant to school massacres have been prominent especially since 1999, the year of Columbine. In this story the protagonist is the mother, and somehow it seems that Kevin's whole act (and life) has been a revenge against his mother, whose via dolorosa is the story of the movie and the Lionel Shriver novel on which it is based.

As directed by Lynne Ramsay, We Need to Talk About Kevin is an anxiety movie, often experimental, often avantgarde, often exhausting, going deep into almost unaccessible psychical terrains. It proceeds on all time levels at once. Eva, Kevin's mother, is going through purgatory, the hate object of strangers who paint her house and car red and take the liberty of damaging her groceries at the store and hitting her on the face. There is a Halloween sequence with children clad as monsters on the street at night, but the whole movie comes close to being a horror movie in the tradition of Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, and The Omen cycle.

This is a story of a deranged mother-son relationship. The son is evil towards his mother and nice towards his father who doesn't see through Kevin. It is a mother's nightmare movie. Kevin's sadism towards his mother is based on his realization that he is too young to be punished yet he is prematurely intelligent to subject his mother to psychological torture ("what personality?"). Kevin smudges his mother's rare maps with a spray gun. He torments her with his intentional delay in learning the toilet habit. He makes his mother feel uncomfortable all the time. He plants a "I Love You" virus disk for her mother to discover, damaging her computers at home and at the office ("there's no point, that's the point"). He apparently kills his sister's pet animal and apparently lets his sister have toxic sewer plunge in her eye, blinding it. The family is breaking up, and Kevin knows he's the reason ("I am the context"). The only serene moment is during Kevin illness when Eva reads aloud about the adventures of Robin Hood to her son. There Kevin gets his inspiration for archery. He becomes an excellent marksman, having found the weapon for his ultimate revenge. Watching tv, Kevin also realizes he wants to become famous by doing something remarkable. Just before Kevin is being transferred to the grown-up's prison Eva asks him why. "I used to think I knew. Now I'm not so sure."

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a powerful, serious and ambitious film made by top talent. It gives a lot to think about, and most importantly its message is that there is a capacity for evil in certain people that may be impossible to handle or even understand. I would have preferred a slight possibility of distance to the relentless nightmare.

The movie has been shot on 35 mm photochemical film and the digital intermediate has been produced on a 2K resolution. I had no problem with the visual quality of the 2K presentation.

The songlist is beyond the jump break:
"Mule Skinner Blues" Written by Jimmie Rodgers & George Vaughn Performed by Lonnie Donegan Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group LTD

"Ham N Eggs" Written by Lonnie Donegan Performed by Lonnie Donegan Published by Tyler Music Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group LTD

"Everyday" Written by Buddy Holly & Norman Petty Performed by Buddy Holly Courtesy of MCA Records Inc

"Nobody's Child" Written by Coben/Foree Performed by Lonnie Donegan Published by Sony/ATV Publishing Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group LTD

"Mother's Last Word to Her Son" Written by Washington Phillips Performed by Washington Phillips Published by Conexion Music Ltd Courtesy of Document Records

"Last Christmas" Written by George Michael (CA) Performed by Wham! Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

"In My Room" Written by Wilson/Usher Performed by The Beach Boys Published by Universal Music Publishing Ltd Licensed courtesy of EMI Records Ltd

"WWOOOOO" Written by Rory Stewart Kinnear Performed by Rory Stewart Kinnear Published by Mute Songs

"Tephra" Written by Helena Gough Performed by Helena Gough Licensed courtesy of Entr'acte

"Aquaculture" Written by Jana Winderen Performed by Jana Winderen Published by Touch Music (MCPS)

"Once in Royal David's City" Composed by anonymous Universal Publishing Production Music

"Christmas Wish" Composed by Paul Fletcher, Patrics Sturrock, Marc Williams Published by KPM Music Ltd

"Greensleeves" Performed by Matt Fletcher

"Bossa" Written by Sean Hargreaves Performed by Sean Hargreaves

"Ballad" Written by Sean Hargreaves Performed by Sean Hargreaves

"Happy Days - Cues" Written by Fox/Gimbell Published by Sony/ATV Music Publising Courtesy of CBS Television Studios

"The Ambush" Performed by Liu Fang

"Farewell To My Concubine" Performed by Liu Fang

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