We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin

classified 15

OK Composer: The Scores of Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke


Please note: This was screened in March 2019

Lynne Ramsay
Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller
112 mins, 2011, UK | USA
Primary language

Jonny Greenwood mixed blues and pop numbers with his muted score for Lynne Ramsay’s exquisite adaptation of Lionel Shriver's bestselling novel about a mother left shattered in the wake of her teenage son’s tragic act of rebellion.

Tilda Swinton is magnificent as Eva, a mother trying to pick through the rubble of her life following her teenage son Kevin's (Ezra Miller) high school killing spree. Flashing back and forth in time, she fruitlessly searches for answers whilst simultaneously grappling with her own feelings of grief and responsibility. Did she ever love her son? Was she at fault, or was her insufferable, sociopathic child merely a bad seed? As Eva replays the story of her life - Kevin's childhood, her strained marriage and her adaptation to parenthood - she's forced to endure an unending hell of prison visits and assaults by bereaved parents, and a hard, unflinching examination of personal guilt, loss and shame.

Contrasting with pop numbers like Buddy Holly’s Everyday, Greenwood’s heartsick, throbbing score saturates the senses along with a sonic collage of sirens and suburban sprinklers, hissing and ticking like coiled vipers, to create a soundscape that is as esoteric and moving as anything on screen. On a purely aural level the film is mesmerising. Throw in a stunning performance from Tilda Swinton, and Lynne Ramsay’s beautifully composed direction of the film’s dark and resonant themes, and you’re left with a modern masterpiece.