Wednesday 26 October 2011

We Need to Talk about Kevin

On Saturday I went to see Lynne Ramsay's film adaptation of We need to talk about Kevin based on the book by Lionel Shriver. This, as I'm sure you know, is about a Columbine style high school massacre carried out by a sixteen year old called Kevin. The book caused havoc between friends and in book clubs up and down the country as people violently disagreed with each other about who was responsible for the murders -Kevin or his Mum. This could be a bit alarming. I once told someone (innocently) that I thought the book was ambiguous about who was responsible -this was met with absolute fury and the suggestion that I was a bit of a dodgy person.

When I heard that Tilda Swinton-who you may remember was a seriously terrifying White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia -had been cast as Kevin's Mum -I thought well that's it- they are going to make the mother responsible-with no ambiguity at all!

However, this was not the case. It was a very good film -though difficult to watch. I thought the ambiguity was still there-though probably more blame was put on Kevin than his mother. However doubtless people will disagree!

Tilda Swinton was very impressive-giving a very subtle performance that was miles away from the wicked witch-on the level of a Meryl Streep performance.

What is interesting though is the way this story hit such a nerve with people-the subject is obviously very upsetting but why did people row about it rather than discuss it?