mattmav45’s review published on Letterboxd:
Cold at times, but nonetheless a powerful portrait and vision.
Psychological horror is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit, and yet I'll be damned if it's rare that the aforementioned description truly fits the viewing at hand. To me, true horror doesn't merely invoke fear in the viewer. Rather, horror is a state of being. It is a phenomenon that seeps into the viewer, and provides the overall mood, tone, and disposition for the entire film. Fortunately for the viewer, such is very much the case here.
While the ultimate outcome of this film is well-known, the majority of the run time centers on the relationship between a mother and her son. And what a relationship it ultimately is. It is quite clear that something is amiss once Kevin is born. Things are only accentuated once he begins his development, and what ultimately ensues is a tumultuous relationship largely based on manipulation.
The method of storytelling deserves special mention here as it is of the special variety. Flashbacks are typically only as a strong as that of whose using them, and thankfully they are in damn good hands here. Jumping back to multiple points in Kevin's childhood in a distinct non-linear fashion, the result is an at times disorienting viewing experience. Most importantly, it is apt at conveying the overall unease felt by Eva throughout Kevin's childhood.
Tilda Swinton is great as always as Eva, and in many ways she serves as the foundation of the entire film. She is easily able to convey the anguish felt by a mom struggling to understand her son. The greatest strength of this film lies in the fact that it doesn't take any side. Rather, it provides the story, and leaves it up to the viewer to pick up the pieces as they so choose. Whether you believe the actions of Kevin were inevitable, fueled by his upbringing, or perhaps a combination of a variety of factors, there is very little doubt that the execution itself gets the brain going.
Much like Kevin himself, the viewing proves itself to be dark, cold, but ultimately pretty damn cerebral in nature.