Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
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Eva Khatchadourian is trying to piece together her life following the "incident". Once a successful travel writer, she is forced to take whatever job comes her way, which of late is as a clerk in a travel agency. She lives a solitary life as people who know about her situation openly shun her, even to the point of violent actions toward her. She, in turn, fosters that solitary life because of the incident, the aftermath of which has turned her into a meek and scared woman. That incident involved her son Kevin Khatchadourian, who is now approaching his eighteenth birthday. Eva and Kevin have always had a troubled relationship, even when he was an infant. Whatever troubles he saw, Franklin, Eva's complacent husband, just attributed it to Kevin being a typical boy. The incident may be seen by both Kevin and Eva as his ultimate act in defiance against his mother. Written by
Mule Skinner Blues
Written by Jimmie Rodgers & Vaughn Horton (as George Vaughn)
Performed by Lonnie Donegan
(c) 1931 Peermusic International Corp. (USA)
Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group LTD
Under license from Universal Music Operations LTD See more »
Lynne Ramsay's film is a tour de force of economy. There's not a single shot wasted. Not a moment goes by that isn't informing, telling the story, adding to the cumulative exploration of a dysfunctional mother- son relationship and its purgatorial fall-out. It's also a rather gentle film (dare I say it, a feminine film): the narrative is constantly split between past and present, the tone moving between all-pervasive paranoia, drudge and romance. The movement isn't jerky though, with regular pacing of the flashing back and forwards, meticulously edited cuts and a very clever original + co-opted soundtrack that often works in contrary motion to the tone, smoothing it out.
This is a film about a mother confronting motherhood across an overlapping three-act structure: before Kevin's birth, with Kevin, after Kevin's crime. Tilda Swinton is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination for her assumption of the role, her selection of uncomprehending thousand yard stares far removed from the opaque look favoured by many other actors working to this level. It helps that the three Kevins who play the title role are all uniformly superb as well - hideous, sly, handsome.
It's the visuals that pulled me up and pressed me back down over and over. The opening 5 minutes or so are worth more than many hours of mediocre film making that I'm perfectly happy to sit through as a general rule in a cinema: the Boschian Tomatina fight, with the equivocal vision of a blissed out Eva buried in the blood red Sartrean- viscous filth is a particularly arresting opening statement (think of the bleaching-white flour of Morvern Callar). It's not an easy watch, although there is no sensationalism. It is, however, always poetry. 9/10
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