Shawn Ku's fine debut feature, Beautiful Boy (2010), mapped the treacherous emotional terrain of a married couple after their teenage son goes on a collegiate shooting rampage; this British drama by Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar), released the following year, tells a similar story but replaces the other movie's careful psychological detail with art-house flourishes and horror-movie dread. The mother (Tilda Swinton, in a typically arresting performance) lives alone in a crummy house and fends off the rage of parents whose children died in the attack; chronological flashbacks recount her torturous upbringing of her son, an utterly malevolent boy from the day he leaves the womb. Ramsay seems to be seriously intent on probing the outer limits of a mother's love and forgiveness, but the boy (played by a trio of child actors) is so unremittingly evil that the movie begins to feel like a grotesque remake of that old John Ritter comedy Problem Child (1990). With John C. Reilly and Siobhan Fallon.
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Producer: Luc Roeg, Jennifer Fox, Robert Salerno, Steven Soderbergh, Christine Langan, Paula Jalfon, Christopher Figg, Robert Whitehouse, Michael Robinson, Andrew Orr, Norman Merry, Lisa Lambert, Lynne Ramsay and Tilda Swinton
Cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rocky Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich, Siobhan Fallon Hogan and Alex Manette