Cameron 🍤’s review published on Letterboxd:
Not sure I could sit through this again in the foreseeable future - it's way too cold - but very impressed by the (somewhat) nonlinear plot, well-developed characters and unsettling editing. The look of the film is very bleak and dull, meaning it was tough on the eyes (intentionally so, more than likely), but I was gripped by the pulling-together of events and memories throughout, and absorbed by Tilda Swinton's performance.
As with most films about violent sociopaths, this felt a little exploitative, though having it through Eva (Swinton)'s perspective, as she tries her best to deal with her son's defiant, violent and generally chaotic nature - all while her husband (John C. Reilly, one of the most consistently-surprising actors on the planet) is totally oblivious - gives the character study heaps more empathy than most thrillers of the sort usually would. This is not just a film about a mass murderer; it's a film about trying your best to accept and live with those you love, no matter the difficulty, and about pushing on with life, no matter the hardship.
The use of flashbacks and generally-confusing plot structure works well; I didn't have a complete picture of what the film was even about until the final moments, and still I have questions*. That's largely a good thing, and I actually think the timey-wimey composure of the film allows the characters to more strongly speak for themselves, as the focus is not so much on what happens next, but how these people got to where they are - and what they're capable of. Definitely a film to think about, which is always welcome.
*note: I seriously had no idea what this was about before watching; I hadn't read a review or synopsis, and watched because a friend recommended it