Kees Chalmers’s review published on Letterboxd:
School massacres in the US is a subject that has been at the forefront of our social issues for decades, but one that in the context of cinema is very taboo and untouched upon, so when a film like ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ comes along your ears prick up, but also gives you a worry of the potential exploitative approach a film maker could take. Luckily Lynne Ramsey doesn’t present Kevin in a sympathetic or pitiful sense, and tackles his character with such a raw, masculine and tenacious energy, carried with such fluidity throughout his life by each iteration of his character, representing signs of his violent future so blatantly, but bringing out a natural humane and parental response of denial, the idea of refuting or ignoring the chance of your child transforming into a monster is handled in such an interesting and authentic way through it’s remarkably harrowing screenplay and Tilda Swinton’s traumatic, honest and afflicting performance. It’s stimulating structure, juxtaposes between before and after the event, providing a perspective of Kevin in his scarily prophetic childhood, and his fully formed psychopathic persona. Dealing with motherhood, and position of parenthood in a way that feels genuinely important and truthful, like a cinematic equivalent to news articles concerning this subject matter, without the forceful message and instead presents it with such elegant subtlety, asking the hard yet obligatory question of what role do the parents have to creating these people? How can they prevent their child from turning into someone like Kevin? Needless to say that Ramsey directs this film beautifully, meticulously crafting every cut and frame to perfection, making use of long, alluringly shot, dialogue-less takes of character’s faces, giving you an abstruse view on the their psyche, never force feeding you a specific feeling you’re meant to have with emotionally manipulative and obvious dialogue and always relying on visuals to tell the story. Johnny Greenwood’s haunting themes somehow always capture what the film has on its mind, perfectly complimenting the visuals, yet feeling like an individual and irreplaceable aspect to the experience. A soul crushing and disturbing film about a terrifyingly real and important subject matter, one of the most necessary pieces of art of the last decade, or this century for that matter.