Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

The Twilight franchise has proved the adage ‘no matter how poor a movie people will see it anyway’.  It’s understandable given how much money it has made although why audiences have turned these films into hits remains a mystery.  A win for hype over quality perhaps although the vanilla vampirism within has hardly made it a memorable series akin to other long-running franchises.  Breaking Dawn Part 1 is strictly for fans with the lovelorn supernatural romanticism enabling cash registers to ring once again.


After a long and tortuous courtship, vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and mortal Bella (Kristen Stewart) marry.  Hoping the bad times are behind them, they settle into an unusual type of domestic bliss.  With forlorn werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) watching from afar, little do they know of the trouble ahead.  When Bella falls pregnant the race is on to save her and her child from the curse Edward has lived with.  That coupled with a cabal of wolves determined to kill them sees an eventual start to their marital lives.


The first part of the fourth instalment of the series, Breaking Dawn Part 1 lays the ground-work for the promised ‘scorching finale’.  This probably accounts for this incredibly slow moving first chapter with various incidents seemingly placed to pad out the running time.  The wedding and honeymoon sequences are filmed in suitably lush strokes although once Bella becomes pregnant events stop at a stand-still.  Whilst having the ‘threat’ to the couple mostly arising from their impetuous nature is interesting, it’s so drawn out interest soon evaporates.


As always the scripting and acting is of a poor standard with some truly awful dialogue.  A shame director Bill Condon has seen fit not to bring any energy or life with even the special effects looking shoddier than usual.  This is noticeable in the scenes involving the vengeful werewolves which ultimately add nothing to a tale limping towards its cliff-hanging conclusion.


Breaking Dawn Part 1 is a generally dull exercise in cash grabbing with only the photography being of any note.  The best thing about it is the thought the series concludes with Part 2 next year with hopefully better franchises to be made deserving of its ‘block-buster’ status.


Rating out of 10:  2

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Some sections of society are usually quick in blaming parents whenever their children commit crimes.  Little do they ponder if such acts are the product of nature or nurture.  We Need to Talk about Kevin examines this conundrum as it charts a parents’ anguish of their child’s deeds.  Confronting in its stark bleakness, it is nevertheless a stirring tale of the effect such behaviour has on the familial unit with director Lynne Ramsay perfectly capturing the moody flavour of Lionel Shriver’s novel.


Eva (Tilda Swinton) is married to Franklin (John C Reilly) and they have a teenage son called Kevin (Ezra Miller).  A difficult child, Kevin becomes an even worse adolescent.  At the end of her tether with his ways, her world is shattered when her emotionally disturbed offspring goes on a killing spree.  Causing carnage at his local school, Kevin’s actions crush Eva’s resolve.  Wondering how events could have happened she examines her role in his upbringing and attempts to piece together the fractured puzzle her life has become.


Tilda Swinton’s character is certainly put through the wringer in this generally arresting film.  Running the gamut of emotions she tries to make sense of her son’s mental disintegration.  Discovering how Kevin’s dark hearted nature his seen him follow through on his murderous impulses, her feelings of trauma become all too real.  Feeling grief, guilt and anger at what he’s done, she unwittingly becomes another of his victims with the local community swiftly condemning her as a social pariah.


It’s a credit to Ramsay’s direction that she maintains an atmosphere of pervading despair.  No easy answers are given to the questions posed and it’s left to viewers to decide the moral issues the characters face.  Swinton provides an excellent performance as does Miller who has a magnetic presence.  It’s somewhat of a shame his role is more caricatured than needs be as the overly melodramatic elements negate much of story’s realism.


Despite certain aspects not quite making this the powerful movie it wants to be, ‘Kevin’ courageously explores issues few films dare.  One can forever contemplate why people do such awful things although pausing to unearth the true facts of such incidents is a common theme this film asserts.


Rating out of 10:  7