“There is no point. That’s the point.”
I always enjoy a good Tilda Swinton performance, and was willing to put up with a grim school-shooting drama to get one. I wasn’t expecting the movie to be such a cartoon, though. Her son is portrayed as so single-mindedly hateful that I’m disappointed the movie didn’t turn into straight supernatural horror by the end. Stylized movie with blatantly unrealistic portrayals of human behaviour (there’s definitely, definitely no logic) are usually okay, but the movie acts like Tilda’s world, feelings, situation are to be taken seriously. I couldn’t put all the parts into a whole that made sense.
Tilda has a devil child who has hated her since birth. Movie flips back and forth in time, culminating in the shooting (with a bow and arrow!), before which Kevin (sadly not Devon Bostick of Rodrick Rules) also shoots his little sister (whom he partially blinded in an earlier scene) and dad John C. Reilly. It seems like the whole rest of the movie was his build-up, that everything Kevin has ever done was to make Tilda’s life miserable, which it finally is as the town’s parents sue for all she’s got, and she ends up working a shitty job at a travel agency, living in a shack, drinking herself to sleep, with no family, visiting her mute homicidal son every week. Then the movie sabotages its demon-spawn horror by almost making Kev seem human in the final scene – what for?
Based on a novel. Intriguing Jonny Greenwood score featuring old-timey songs, well-shot by Seamus McGarvey (Atonement).
The symbiosis between anxious mother and psychotic son—is she absorbing his growing malevolence out of guilt or responsibility, or is she projecting her own bad vibes onto him?—is what gives the film its shape, the sense of a deforming bulge resulting from turmoil swept under the maternal rug. But Ramsay doesn’t let the horror arise from the material; instead, she pulverizes it with a cacophony of clashing sound bridges, crudely symbolic colors and overwrought edits. Like Steve McQueen’s Manhattan in Shame, Ramsay’s Connecticut is a netherworld of vacant signifiers (Home, Office, Hell) where blunt abstraction and blunt literalism wrestle for control.