There were critics who labeled Morvern Callar director Lynne Ramsay’s film about a woman trying to cope in the wake of a disaster that rocked her community a masterpiece. As an example of superior filmmaking skills, it is a great movie, very visual and visceral as it examines this woman’s parenting skills in flashbacks where we get to see how her son Kevin was doomed right from the start. It’s a fascinating story throughout, with a hard-hitting performance by Tilda Swinton. The film’s only problem is that it likely wants to be viewed as something more profound than a horror movie. Having Kevin act like a young Hannibal Lecter is not the right way.
2011-Britain-U.S. 112 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, Robert Salerno. Directed by Lynne Ramsay. Screenplay: Lynne Ramsay, Rory Stewart Kinnear. Novel: Lionel Shriver. Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey. Cast: Tilda Swinton (Eva Khatchadourian), John C. Reilly (Franklin Plaskett), Ezra Miller (Kevin Khatchadourian, at 15), Jasper Newell (Kevin Khatchadourian, at 6-8), Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich.
Trivia: Co-executive produced by Steven Soderbergh.
European Film Awards: Best Actress (Swinton).
Last word: “The novel has so much more of Kevin doing really bad things like encouraging the little girl to scratch her eczema. But I do think one of the subtexts is the façade of the functioning American family. The parents don’t act, because to act would be to admit that their family is a charade. I actually wanted to call the film ‘Performance’. That’s what it’s essentially about – façade and performance. The dad is looking away, the mum is not quite there, and the son is playing them against each other. It’s the essential family drama taken to terrible extremes.” (Ramsay, Time Out)