We need to talk about Kevin
directed by Lynne Ramsay
But what if how you raise a child doesn't make any difference? Some traits are apparently hardwired. I was never particularly talkative or sociable as a child and I'm not now. That's genetic. It occasionally bothers some people (who are too talkative from my POV) but I can't and won't change that characteristic. What if other things are passed down? What if "evil" or psychopathy is genetic? What if there are some children that are such bad seeds that the parents would be wiser to do a "post-birth abortion" and go back to the drawing board? And if the parent knows there's something wrong with the child what is his or her responsibility? Especially if the spouse can't see the problem or there are other, normal children in the household that might be victimized by the evil kid, should the parent act? This is more complex when the child is of a different gender than the worried parent and the same gender parent seems unconcerned.
Tilda Swinton is a very talented offbeat actress with a rather striking and occasionally unsettling appearance. She can look quite androgynous (witness her turn as the angel Gabriel in the film Constantine) or extremely feminine (title character in the film Julia). I'm usually interested in her films. In We need to talk about Kevin, she is Eva, a travel writer who, after a wonderful, nay ecstatic time at a gorgeously rendered Spanish tomato festival finds ecstasy of a different kind with Franklin (John C. Reilly). Well apparently one time was all it took because she becomes pregnant, marries Franklin, and bears their first child, Kevin. Of course this requires a lifestyle change. Although she does not remain a stay-at-home mother it appears she becomes one for a while. It's not explained what Franklin does for money but evidently both husband and wife are financially very successful judging by the homes they acquire.
who could not be more than 4 or 5 at this point) lies to his father and tells him that he fell. He does this so he can blackmail his mother. This is a creepy little kid and definitely not one you'd turn your back on. He deliberately destroys things his mother loves and then says he was trying to help. He's smart enough as a toddler to express loathing in a scarily adult manner.
this is not shown but just heavily implied) you may start to wonder why his father hasn't picked up on his issues. Again, I wouldn't have wanted this guy around me as a toddler. As a sarcastic quietly contemptuous teenager he is even less pleasant. I would have thought alarm bells would have been going off. But again hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it.
despite the name the author is a woman) that digs deep into maternal ambivalence without blaming everything on Mommy, though some of the characters seem to do so. Is it nature or nurture? What are the limits of love? Is there redemption? You may be undecided about those questions after watching this movie. This film wasn't financially successful but I thought it was worthwhile viewing on DVD/on demand.
directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
I'm not sure whether to call this a drama or action film as it has elements of both but since the "action" segments are short and mostly at the end I guess drama it is.
Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) and his wife Liz (January Jones) arrive in Berlin for an international biotechnology summit. As they check into the hotel, Martin realizes that he left his briefcase with passport and other critical information at the airport. Their taxi is just pulling away. He flags down another taxi driven by Gina (Diane Kruger) and tells her to step on it. However there is a bad accident and their taxi goes into the river. Martin suffers a minor head injury. Gina pulls him from the water. After 4 days in a coma he wakes in the hospital. He has some minor personal effects like a notebook , watch and some cash but no id or cell phone. Martin remembers who he is and goes back to the hotel. However with no id he has trouble getting in. Being a rather convincing fellow he manages to bluff/schmooze/intimidate the staff into letting him talk to his wife, who he sees in the ballroom. But when he speaks to Liz she claims not to know who he is. She says he's not her husband and that she's married to a different man named Martin Harris. There's no footage which shows Martin at the hotel. When he tries to bring up a picture of himself on the university website he finds that "Martin Harris" is actually the other man. Making a scene by this point, he leaves before the police can be called. He's confused because the doctor did tell him that his head injury might cause disorientation and confusion.
Martin passes out and wakes up in the hospital wondering if he is going mad, how damaged he was by the head injury and who he really is. And then someone murders his nurse and tries to do him in as well. This film is very reminiscent of North by Northwest before it starts to remind me of Taken. It ramps up the tension pretty effectively and although the final third of the film is somewhat predictable the first two parts are not bad. Not bad at all. It is scary to think about how would you prove you were who you said you are if you didn't have papers saying so. Is your identity based on your papers or are you you because of how other people react and respond to you? For a while this film looks like it's going into some philosophical questions raised by Camus and Sartre but shifts back to murderous Germans, time sensitive assignments, secret police, set ups and car chases.
Although there is some violence it is not that explicit. Again, Neeson holds it all together for me. But he has some help from Bruno Ganz, Frank Langella, Aidan Quinn, Rainier Bock, Sebastian Koch, and Eva Lobau. I liked this film.