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Overall Rating
4.46

Awesome67.37%
Worth A Look: 18.95%
Average: 6.32%
Pretty Bad: 7.37%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 77 user ratings


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Evil (Ondskan)
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by Chris Parry

"This flick will be a long time guilty pleasure."
4 stars

It's tough to peg the new Swedish film Evil as a specific genre. Though it has moments of hilarious comedy, gripping drama, and stomach-clenching violence which keep it from being easily pigeon-holed, I find that it's best described as Dead Poets' Society: The Post-Nazi Years.

Erik (Andreas Wilson) is nothing but trouble. The product of a violent home where his punch-happy stepdad likes to settle disagreements with a couple of dozen lashes of his belt, teenage Erik has picked up on the habit of ending arguments with his fists instead of his brains, and when he's kicked out of school he finds himself sent off to boarding school. You might think that the upper-class students at a toff-nosed boarding school would be the kind of people Erik should be around if he's to learn how to learn... but post-Nazi Europe has left a little bit of its own penchant for violence in the children who survived the battlefield.

Erik wants to keep his head down, improve his grades and get back home, but the upper classmen at his school have other ideas. Having established a tradition of random beatings, intolerable abuse and an almost homoerotic desire to degrade others, these future leaders spend their days humiliating those of the 'lower classes', dishing out violent punishments, and all the while being ignored by the old farts running the institution - nazi sympathizers and all.

But Erik's not about to sit back and take the abuse. and that's when Evil warms up to the temperature of the fourth level of hell.

Remember the violence in Braveheart? Remember that feeling where you knew you'd been worked into a frenzy that you'd be guilt for in the morning, but you REALLY wanted Mel to slam his sledgehammer down across that English bastard's spine?

Welcome to Evil. If there's a movie I've seen this year that gives the audience more of what it wants, I haven't seen it. Rather than go on a Ghandiesque tirade about how violence is wrong and only makes people fear you, director Mikael Håfström uses violence to demonstrate its wrongs, but also cedes to the fact that if you don't stand up for yourself, you'll never beat a bully, and indeed you just let the bully multiply by not calling him to task for his wrongs.

Andreas Wilson is amazing in the lead role of Erik, brooding his way through the film in a way that has you absolutely scared of what he's capable of, but also rooting for that little tinge of intellect that breaks through when all else is rage. Critics will assail Håfström for giving in to the violence that he so obviously opposes, but they'll have missed the point entirely. Håfström's lead character does all he can to avoid violence, but sometimes that violence is not against you, it's against those who can't defend themselves. What do you do in that situation? Do you stand back and preach peace, or do you enforce it?

Evil is a great film, though it's not without its flaws. It does run long, and dilemmas are sometimes solved a little too simply, but credit the director with taking the audience to a dark place, before throwing them a rope and allowing them to go home without slitting their wrists in depression. It's Fight Club in a boarding school. It's Dead Poets without the superhero teacher. It's Good Will Hunting with a lot more bloodletting.

See this movie... just don't take a date.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8229&reviewer=1
originally posted: 09/29/03 10:43:26
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/09/12 geraldo Chief protagonist fpr violence and cruelty is Jewish. Hmm 4 stars
8/15/10 lauríce Well done movie, fabulous actors! 5 stars
11/29/09 Nemesis Fantastic! I can feel the drama through the characters. Well written drama. 5 stars
7/26/09 Rob Byrne A very moving film and one that you will think about long after you see it 5 stars
11/24/05 Heath Buck Brilliant. 4 stars
11/08/05 Sofia Best film I've ever seen! 5 stars
7/26/05 ato sumi extremely intense...andreas done a great job!!! 5 stars
6/02/05 Marcela R This film makes me feel reconciled with the life 5 stars
2/23/05 Rodrigo S This movie is a biography of the book's author: I was a student at that school. 5 stars
1/08/05 Elizabeth S Solid cast, engrossing story. 4 stars
11/19/04 eddy an impressive movie 5 stars
8/25/04 Jay Another teenage movie with the major antagonists looking 25! Unoriginal and pathetic 2 stars
7/07/04 Marinka Franulovic I loved Andreas Wilson in the leading role. He was brillian! Congratulations Andreas. 5 stars
4/22/04 James Awesome movie! Don't miss it! The Swedes know what they are doing! 5 stars
4/19/04 pba Best swedish movie in a long time. And yes the reviewers should do some research. 5 stars
4/19/04 Jonas Mellberg See the film & read the book! Feel it, it's close. 5 stars
4/14/04 Lina Johansson Movie isn't that unrealistic, reviewer should do some more research before reviewing. 5 stars
4/12/04 Lily I agree, it does feel a bit silly sometimes, but it's definately worth a look. 4 stars
4/11/04 Rob Lane Excellent film - a must see 5 stars
4/08/04 Nils Gasslander Don't say such crap about swedish films! By the way, it's a biograpy. Unrealistc huh? 5 stars
3/31/04 Rob Lane Excellent film - the hopelessness of an 'evil' situation is so well portrayed 5 stars
3/27/04 Linda Zilliacus Film was great, and I'm in love with Linda Zilliacus 4 stars
3/27/04 ane haveråen jævli bra film 5 stars
3/20/04 Linda Mattsson U got 1 thing more wrong... Its a true story about the author's own life when he grew up.. 5 stars
3/19/04 Robert Hellström You've got one thing wrong, The writer of ondskan or evil as you call it is Jan Guillou. 5 stars
3/08/04 Guerin Charlotte It is a very good movie/ I recommend it! 5 stars
3/05/04 Trond Børresen has read the book bether then the film,but stil som of the best thing i have seen! 5 stars
3/01/04 Lisa Lavendell one of the best films in movie history! 5 stars
3/01/04 Marcus Elensky Very interesting movie 5 stars
1/29/04 Aram Coulter Saw this at Toronto Film Festival - it was awesome and thrilled it got nominatedfor Oscar! 5 stars
1/28/04 Emma Åkerman Andreas is great and everyone in Sweden has read this book at school. Unbeatable! 5 stars
1/28/04 John James Ever been young? Didnt dare to fight back? See this! 5 stars
1/28/04 Ivar Johansson A modern Ingmar Bergman-film 5 stars
1/28/04 Eric Good 5 stars
1/03/04 laura funay great young actor - would like to see what else he can do 5 stars
11/27/03 Eric Seriously stylish film 4 stars
11/25/03 Pekka Linda Zilliacus is great! 5 stars
11/19/03 Gustav Sandstrom This movie you have to see! Raw but justified violence 5 stars
11/17/03 Micki I love Andreas Wilsons work in this movie, 5 stars
11/16/03 Sonia this movie is the best, and so real. 5 stars
11/13/03 Hanna The book was the best book I've read, the film didn't get close. Be open-minded, true story 5 stars
11/07/03 sippo andreas is HOT. and the movie is great 5 stars
11/05/03 Caroline Sandberg This film is very very good, but the book is better... 5 stars
11/05/03 Jenny Chen I haven't read the book yet, but I sure will after seeing this amazingly well done movie. 5 stars
11/03/03 Marika Andersson The film is based on the biography of the author Jan Guillou. The book is amazing. 4 stars
11/03/03 hannah great. and if you're from sweden you understand the greatness of it better. read the book. 5 stars
11/01/03 Emso Nice work Andreas! 5 stars
11/01/03 Sandy Another good swedish movie wich is worth watching it.. 5 stars
10/31/03 Sara Duarte Jason Whyte: "Evil" is a screen version of the autobiographic book by J.Guillou-->realistic 5 stars
10/31/03 Helli Great movie and a fiiiiiine actor =P 4 stars
10/21/03 j very intense 5 stars
10/20/03 Joanna Larsson Andreas Wilson rocks! 5 stars
10/18/03 Jonas von Poonas If I can choose 1 movie to see, this is the one. 5 stars
10/17/03 Fredrik read the book! 4 stars
10/17/03 Hanna very good read the book too. 4 stars
10/17/03 Jens 'Evil' can't be unrealistic, Jason Whyte, since it all did happen to the book's author... 5 stars
10/17/03 in love with Andreas JESUS..IM IN LOVE WITH THIS GUYS...HIS GIRLFRIEND IS SOOOO LUCLY TO HAVE HIM I SWAER 5 stars
10/11/03 elin I think the film is awsome.. and I know andreas.. and I think he is an very good actor 5 stars
10/11/03 Sara A great movie 5 stars
10/11/03 Ida this Movie is the best & Andreas Wilson Look S0 Damn Good.. 5 stars
10/10/03 Sanna awesome movie, I LOVE ANDREAS WILSON!!! 5 stars
10/10/03 Lena Brandt The movie is not "unrealistic", its based on the life story of the author, u jerks!!!! 5 stars
10/09/03 Nina Andreas Wilson i teh hottest guy in the universe... the movie is worth seeing- just for him 5 stars
10/09/03 Emma painfully good, knowing that the truth was worse makes it even more painful 5 stars
10/06/03 Arne >Carlsson we think this is a very good movie 5 stars
10/05/03 Linda I like this film. And I love Andreas Wilson 5 stars
10/04/03 Mats If you thought the movie was brutal, read the novel. 4 stars
10/04/03 Maria just amazing! Andreas ahh so beautiful... 5 stars
10/03/03 elin andreas wilson, will you marry me?? 5 stars
10/02/03 Josephine It's a great movie, not like the book of course. Andreas Wilson, mad hot :D 5 stars
10/02/03 josefine a movie that makes you think 5 stars
10/01/03 Fred Fair enough Jason, but this DID happen as depicted in the film... 5 stars
9/30/03 John This is a great self biografi from Jan Guillou! 5 stars
9/30/03 Mirko one of the best movie i've seen in my life 5 stars
9/30/03 Helena G Andreas Wilson is a star 5 stars
9/29/03 Marcus Amazing performaces and adaptation from the original novel is well done. 4 stars
9/29/03 Charna Excellent 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  10-Mar-2006
  DVD: 27-Jun-2006

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