We Need to Talk About Kevin comes to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray complete with a solid 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Whilst this is not quite a demo quality rendition, it’s not far off, and does a very good job at promoting Seamus McGarvey’s rich cinematography – rife with vivid colour tones and stylisation, mostly of the symbolic nature, coupled with some suitable textured flashback sequences. Clarity, both in the long shots and in terms of fine object detail, is resoundingly good throughout, without any signs of edge enhancement or over-the-top DNR usage, and with no apparent digital defects either. The aforementioned colour scheme, which boasts some rich and vibrant tones across the board, is exceedingly well represented, accurate and realistic throughout, with strong black levels that allow for excellent shadowing. There’s a fine cinematic sheen pervading the piece, occasionally lapsing into potentially unintentional noise, but overall this is a superior video presentation that is just a smidge lower than what you would use as reference quality material. A slightly more apparent visual 3D pop, and a touch more refinement around the edges and this may have made it to the next level, but it’s not far off.
On the aural front we get a similarly good-but-not-quite-great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 accompanying track which works wonders with the reasonably restricted audio elements, but never quite reaches reference quality levels. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, from the often self-reflective whispers to the shouts and screams, with the acoustics of the relevant surroundings even coming into play (kids running around the school corridors and screams in the high school gym). The track is peppered with a few surround effects and atmospheric noises that drive the effects-side of the proceedings – but is quite restricted in that there are very few overt in-your-face moments. It’s ambience through and through, the surrounds an insubstantial amount to work with beyond suitably setting the mood. Talking of mood, though, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood’s haunting, evocative soundtrack is perfectly suited to the distorted nature of the situation, often revelling in its own creepiness and working wonders to enhance the material, whilst further giving the surrounds something to do. With a little LFE accompaniment, this is a good track but not a great one.
In terms of extras all we get is a quarter of an hour of Cast and Crew Interviews and the original Theatrical Trailer.
Perhaps not quite the psychological study of a mother’s reflections on what she may have done to cause her son to grow up to be a sociopath that the book was, the film adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin interweaves a mother’s self-destructive introspection with a more conventionally-minded portrait of a child who simply looks to have been born bad. Whether you consequently regard it as an intelligent portrayal of the classic demon-child horror formula, or merely watch it for the stunning multi-faceted performance of lead actress Tilda Swinton as the destroyed-by-her-past central protagonist, it is a deserving, powerful work, albeit one which is very hard to like, but very easy to admire. A more daring take on the whole nature/nurture debate – as perhaps the original book offered – would have likely made this an unequivocally great work, rather than just a very good one, but it’s still definitely worth checking out, not least for Swinton’s singularly excellent contribution.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get very good video presentation and a suitably good accompanying aural track, but only a smattering of insubstantial extras. Fans should still be contented though, particularly given the presentation, and should definitely pick this up forthwith. Those who appreciated the book should also consider this a worthy blind-buy, and newcomers who appreciate great lead performances will likely find Tilda Swinton’s tour-de-force contribution alone justifies the price tag. Recommended.
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