As I write, the award season is hoving into view. We’ve Golden Globes in a fortnight (the highlight no doubt will be host Ricky Gervais), then BAFTAs and finally the Academy Awards. Forget the fame, forget the fortune, forget getting your handprint on the Walk of Fame or having your name in billboard letters larger than the Hollywood sign. For some artists that’s not enough. International recognition is the order of the day where they get to stand on their podium and gain some vindication or weird closure by telling everyone “I told you I could do it and now look at me” and “See! My ego was right all along!”. The only good chasing that particular dragon will possibly achieve is that it may sate their ego for a minute or two, they’ll shut the f*ck up and the rest of us can get on with our mortal, humble yet real lives.
Tilda Swinton has already collected a few awards for this film and maybe set to collect more. This, I fear, is due to her achievement as an actress rather than her performance in this specific film. Indeed the whole film is sadly lacking. It’s onerous use of symbolism (tomatoes and red paint, blood right?!), it’s cliched cinematography (red graded footage, blood right?!) and it’s underwhelming performances attempt to cover up what is a weak script and a lame story.
Swinton plays Eva Khatchadurian, the mother of Kevin whom displays from an infant age sociopathic behaviour. It culminates with teenage Kevin going on a Columbine-style slaughter at his school. That’s not a spoiler. You guess rather early on due to the jumpy timeline edit. It leaves you in full possession of the facts rather early on in the film, which also left me wondering why I should bother watching the rest of it.
Are we meant to be frightened of Kevin, who is no more precocious, obnoxious, conceited or anti-social than most teenagers? Especially, I imagine, the rich middle American white teenagers like Kevin. Swinton’s character got no sympathy from me at all. She was a wet wishy washy pain in the arse. She deserved every bit of her misfortune. Harsh? Well take The Shining for example. Didn’t Shelly Duvall’s character grate a little bit? Did you not wish there had been a Directors Cut where her character ended up stabbed repeatedly in the face? (By all accounts, I’m imagine Kubrik would have loved making it too) Well, it’s a shame nothing like that befell Swintons character either.
Before I condemn this film entirely, I will praise the eerie soundtrack, part music, part cutting sound effects that left one physically affected as well as emotionally. I’d chuck that a nomination, but nothing else in the film.
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