Adapted from Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel, Ramsey’s third feature tells the story of a mother’s disturbed perspective of events leading up to and following her son’s massacre of fellow students and teachers in a US high school.
Tilda Swinton, who has proven adept at this sort of thing over her career, portrays the mother, Eva, with conviction, as we witness her gradual agony of not being able to communicate with her difficult adolescent son, Kevin. John C. Reilly provides competent support as the father seemingly out of touch with his son’s (and wife’s) situation. With the eventual teenage Kevin played by Ezra Miller with all the angst and apathy you’d come to expect from such a drama.
However, the mixture of infrequent dark humour; stark kitchen sink realism; and an almost dream-like detachment (so brilliantly employed in Ramsey’s Morvern Callar) seems somewhat at odds with itself and its powerful subject matter, with its subtle, starker moments ultimately coming across a little heavy handed in its message and meaning.
The film undoubtedly asks questions and will be one of the more acclaimed films come the end of year polls – just possibly a little extra is expected from this more than capable director.