Given that most critics would throw themselves off a bridge for her, it’s a sad surprise that this is only Scot auteur Lynne Ramsay’s third feature. She lost a few years on an abortive stab at The Lovely Bones – well before Peter Jackson and his Weta army came along – but even she might concede that it may have been worth it, because this is the adaptation she was born to make.
If, that is, ‘born’ is the right word, since this film is such an effective form of contraception, the Catholic Church can’t possibly approve.
Ramsay and hubbie writer Rory Kinnear boldly junk source author Lionel Shriver’s epistolary structure, instead plunging us straight into the consciousness of a mother wrestling over the degree to which she’s responsible for her son becoming a monster.
Tilda Swinton is perfectly cast as the former boho travel writer, and we’re trapped to an oppressive and stifling degree in her POV as she reminisces on her old, fun life, her encounters with her seemingly bottomlesspit- of-malevolence son (Ezra Miller), and her contemporary life as her town’s public enemy number one.
Ramsay casts a mercilessly precise eye over affluent US suburbia, and marshalls near-hallucinatory sound design and a vivid red palette with the skill of a virtuoso.
True, there are times when story is throttled by style. But someone needs to tell Gaspar Noé that Enter The Void has a rival as the recent high point of subjective cinema. Roll on Ramsay’s fourth film, and many after that.