by James Killough
Tomorrow is the opening of the Cannes Film Festival, the Olympic Games of film, as I like to call it, except the participants in the real Olympics don’t drink and drug nearly as much as they do at Cannes — well, not with fun drugs, at least. I have it on good authority that Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin is absolutely brilliant and the one to beat. Based on a Lionel Shriver book that was so harrowing I couldn’t finish it, Kevin features a score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and is about a teen who massacres a bunch of students and teachers at his high school, as seen through the eyes of his mother.
The mother is played by Tilda Swinton, whom I met for the first time a few years ago at the sixtieth anniversary of the festival. I can’t imagine better casting for that role. The person who gave me the sneak review about Kevin said he felt like taking a shower afterwards, always a good sign that a grisly film has hit its mark. I loved both of Ramsay’s earlier films, Ratcatcher and Morvern Callar. A former photographer, Ramsay has a way with composition and silence that is worthy of a Roger Ebert adjective like “electrifying.”