Film Review & Spring in Central Park

The one thing I miss about New York (apart from the food, the public transportation and my darling friends of course!) is the movie theaters. I was a movie junkie when I lived there. Anytime I had a two hour block of free time I was in those span of blocks where the Angelika, Film Forum, IFC Center, Sunshine Cinema, Village East Cinema, Cinema Village & Anthology of Film Archives all seemed nearby- air conditioned (!) escapes for the sometimes overwhelming city, brimming with new (and old!) cinematic ideas! Earlier this week I practically bailed out of our car on a trip to NY as we passed the Angelika Film Center (lobby of pictured below) so I could make it to a screening of We Need To Talk About Kevin, a film that I had heard a few things about, mainly that Tilda Swinton (swoon) was fabulous in the main role and that Jonny Greenwood (bigger swoon/Radiohead member/composer) was on the music, two things that pointed to something worth jumping out of the car and into a theater for!

Based on a novel of the same name, the film is a portrait of a sociopath teenager, a seemingly emotionless kid drawn to violence and hate told through the story of his mother (Swinton). The characters were ones I have never seen (a slightly un-motherly mother forced to deal with her increasingly detached son, the coming of age of an angry teen, the aloof father whose love and manipulated state cannot see past his son's intensifying problem, even the brief role of the little sister who is eager to please her eerie sibling) and were all portrayed in a withholding story structure that tensely inched along, giving you some information, implying, doubting- the construction of the film alone was truly unique and it kept me engaged even through the obvious symbolism and the humdrum (un-Greenwood-like) pop song interludes...and even engaged through the audience of elderly people punctuating the action through retellings in the name of broken hearing aids and plot misunderstandings, "It starts off weird 'cause she was a flower child" the woman behind me (inaccurately) proclaimed...(I cannot wait to get old!)

In a landscape of indie/non-Hollywood film styles that have flattened out into formulaic music video kind of unevents, We Need To Talk About Kevin was a newer directorial voice (even when holding onto some hard to shake recent tropes cough-kitschy use of Buddy Holly as seen in every "offbeat" movie in the last 5 years-cough) that told a version of a now that is seldom told and did so in a distinct approach, an approach that I have heard differs greatly from the book too making me think the filmmaker, Lynne Ramsey, is what really made this movie shine.  Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's label (Oscilloscope Laboratories) distributed this movie, a label I feel like I see creeping into the onscreen title cards before films more and more, taking risks and keeping it ill (?eh?) or maybe keeping it fresh (?eh?)...either way Oscilloscope seems to be doing something right, if only they could get even bigger: everyone needs to talk about Kevin! Ok, ok that was a little is a picture of the beginning of Spring in Central Park, another thing I miss about New York...!



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.