Entertainment Magazine

Capsule Reviews: Trespass, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Posted on the 27 December 2011 by Jake Cole @notjustmovies
Trespass (Joel Schumacher, 2011)
Capsule Reviews: Trespass, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Having premiered at TIFF in September and come to DVD not two months later, Trespass couldn't possibly have been any good, but its badness is still striking. Shot with colors so artlessly exaggerated it looks merely as if someone adjusted the color balance rather than composed anything, Trespass wouldn't be interesting if it were lensed by Emmanuel Lubezki. A bog-standard house thriller with a simperingly moralistic message about family, the film proceeds with hilariously random flashbacks, endless narrative diversions, and hopelessly absurd dialog. Nicole Kidman still can't get her emotions to match her starched facial expressions, while Nic Cage plays the fast-talking diamond dealer with his usual incoherent yelling. (I confess that his agonized cry of "You shit fucking animals!" is something of a highlight.) The film does improve (by which I mean becomes even worse) when someone socks Cage in the mouth and he speaks with a thick voice the rest of the film. But not even the delight of Cage at his worst can make up from Schumacher's clumsily overactive direction or the constant addition of conflicts thanks to useless reveals.
Capsule Reviews: Trespass, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin
My Week With Marilyn (Simon Curtis, 2011)
Capsule Reviews: Trespass, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin
When a film summarizes itself with its opening text scrawl, it has to work twice as hard to make the audience care for what is to come. But Simon Curtis' lazy sorta biopic doesn't have an ounce of insight in it, printing the legend and never engaging Monroe on any human level. We get a glossed-over view of her instability, with the brilliant Michelle Williams setting aside her command of elegantly controlled body language to offer up an Oscar-ready performance of big accents and aggressive acting. Kenneth Branagh, however, redeems much of the film's facile approach, giving his finest performance in years as a crotchety, thin-lipped Sir Laurence Olivier, looking for rejuvenation in co-starring with Monroe but discovering only his obsolescence in the process. But he can only overcome so much; Curtis even presents Monroe as an airhead in her private life, taking her to a giant library only to have her rush to a massive dollhouse to ooh and aah. By presenting her as naïve and simple behind closed doors, the director never truly delineates between the real woman and the ass-shaking, pose-striking, kiss-blowing sex symbol who turns on every time the press finds her.
Capsule Reviews: Trespass, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin
We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011)
Capsule Reviews: Trespass, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin
We Need to Talk About Kevin has two strong factors in its favor. One is the direction of Lynne Ramsay, who relies on striking, even idiosyncratic visuals and her actors' body language to convey story and emotion while still being lucid enough to not only follow but predict (almost to the film's detriment). The other is Tilda Swinton, who captures the trauma and paranoia of being not merely the witness to but the ultimate target of her child's killing spree, not only scanning her memories to find out where it all went wrong but feeling the hot sting of hostile stares from the community that blames her for her son's rampage. Together, Ramsay and Swinton create a claustrophobic mood wracked with doubt, as even Eva begins to wonder if she truly is at fault.
Where the film falls down is in its handling of Kevin, who upends whatever nature vs. nature debates arise from some of Eva's memories by being so innately evil that comparisons to such films as The Omen and The Bad Seed have cropped up everywhere.. Every child hired to portray the child at various stages has dark, expressionless stares and absent humanity, which makes the occasional glimpse of a slapped hand or a cutting remark from Eva or a violent video game enthusiastically played seem like belated attempts to add a counterbalance. When young Kevin caustically responds to his mother's remark about matching a room to his personality with, "What personality?" he lets on more than he realizes. At times, the film displays the more nuanced tone of the visual assembly that makes Kevin almost compelling, but soon he's back to that lifeless look in his eyes, leaving me wanting more of these complex moments.
Nevertheless, Swinton is so good at finding depth in the only person ever simplified more than the child killer in such situations, and Ramsay's direction is often so compelling despite its occasional obviousness, that We Need to Talk About Kevin emerges one of the finer films of the year. When everything, or even just most things, click, it makes for a haunting study of survivor's guilt that even manages to find hints of redemption amid the bleakness of the red-soaked visuals and Johnny Greenwood's howling score.
Capsule Reviews: Trespass, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • IIIT Delhi Placement Analysis

    IIIT Delhi Placement Analysis

    IIIT Delhi is a Delhi based technical university which is creating the buzz for last few years in the country in terms of placement, education culture, faculty... Read more

    9 hours, 7 minutes ago by   Ssankarr
  • Heavy Rockers, Ozone Mama, Announce New Headlining European Tour and Welcome...

    Heavy Rockers, Ozone Mama, Announce Headlining European Tour Welcome Singer

    Big things are bristling on the horizon for Ripple Music's, Ozone Mama!After releasing their critically acclaimed, best-selling album, "Cosmos Calling" with... Read more

    12 hours, 8 minutes ago by   Ripplemusic
  • Train Travels: Malaysia to Thailand

    Train Travels: Malaysia Thailand

    I have now covered this route a bunch of times through the years, having travelled overland from as far as Singapore, up to the... Read more

    12 hours, 28 minutes ago by   Allanmwilson
  • Random Bits of Nature (Snake Warning)

    Random Bits Nature (Snake Warning)

    A very tiny toad -- less than in inch. Blacksnakes kill by constriction. This was an ex-chipmunk by the time I saw it. Read more

    13 hours, 38 minutes ago by   Vickilane
  • Duck Duck Go Founder Asks Google to Sell Them Duck.com

    Duck Founder Asks Google Sell Them Duck.com

    So there was an interesting article on CNET today about Duck.com. Google acquired the domain back in 2010 when they acquired ON2. But there is confusion, most... Read more

    14 hours, 10 minutes ago by   Worldwide
  • Concert Review: A Grand Night for D Major

    Concert Review: Grand Night Major

    Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the National Youth Orchestra.</> by Paul J. Pelkonen The players wore red pants: The National Youth Orchestra.Photo © 2018... Read more

    19 hours, 42 minutes ago by   Superconductor
  • OMG - OH My Greenery 24x7

    Greenery 24x7

    Here OMG stands for Office, Home, Market Yard, and Ground. These places by the human being created to secure their social activities. Mostly human destroy the... Read more

    19 hours, 57 minutes ago by   Saurabh Verma