Almost 10 years after her last film
, Brit-director Lynn Ramsay has made a gut-punching comeback with
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Tilda Swinton is at her brittle best as Eva, a mother grappling with guilt over the tragic actions of her 15-year-old problem child Kevin (Ezra Miller).
Skipping back and forth in time, the jigsaw narrative pieces together the Oedipally complex relationship between mother and son.
Though the film doesn't filter the book's first-person, letter-writing device into a voice-over, it's still intensely locked into Eva's POV.
Similar to Ramsey's earlier work (including 1999 debut
), this is a highly expressionistic piece that makes striking use of the colour red, as well as Jonny Greenwood's score, which evokes the dread-soaked droning of his
There Will Be Blood
That's not the only connection between the two films - this too is a horror film at heart, with Ezra an unforgettable monster (though the junior thesps playing the younger Kevin match his screen-searing stare).
If at times Ramsay's directorial control is so tight the film risks becoming mannered, the tension is perpetually poised on a knife's edge.
However, as the Scottish filmmaker pointed out, "There's no violence in this movie... you only see its aftermath. People think it's a lot more violent than it is."
She also pointed up that the film offers a timely metaphor: "If you turn a blind eye, you're going to create monsters. It's happening all over the world."
Swinton, though, suggested that the film is not "social commentary", adding, "This is a film about feelings, not facts. It's a bloody business being a parent, and an even bloodier one being a child!"