Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

With mass shootings that mirror the Columbine catastrophe becoming more frequent, it's fascinating -- if frightening -- to examine the way these crazed shooters were raised. It's all but impossible to find a satisfying answer about whether delusional assassins are created by nature or nurture.

The question weighs heavily on the mind of a mother played by Tilda Swinton, who recounts key moments in raising her son (Ezra Miller) -- who has just been arrested after slaughtering students at his school -- along with her husband (John C. Reilly).

There is always something off about the child. Even as a toddler, he refuses to conform to social norms. It's easy to second-guess the way Swinton handles the child, especially when she reacts with blind anger, and we're  left, like her, to imagine the implications of her child-rearing methods.

It's a credit to the fascinating film, told with economy and speed, that it promotes such analysis and discussion. This is a fine drama that is sadly a sign of the times.

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