Evil (Ondskan) (2006)
Erik is a 16-year-old boy whose life has been plagued by violence. Tormented by his abusive stepfather, he has hit back in the only way he knows -- by giving a good thrashing to anyone in his way. When he is expelled from public school, Erik is told he has one last chance to make something of himself and is sent to a prestigious private school. This time, he is determined not to mess up. Initially, Erik is overjoyed to escape his unhappy home, but he soon discovers he has merely substituted one prison for another. The school is run by a rigorous and unjust code, enforced by senior students rather than the faculty. In fact, the teachers prefer to ignore what goes on among the students, including beatings and a wide variety of humiliating rites. Soon, Erik is faced with a dangerous choice: confront his oppressors and risk expulsion, ignore them and suffer humiliation, or let his friends suffer for him. … More
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Critic Reviews for Evil (Ondskan)
Movies like Evil entertain us by serving sweet revenge on a platter, and director Mikael Håfström manipulates emotions more intelligently than most.
Wilson, who plays Erik, had never been in a film before Evil -- which was nominated for a best foreign-language Oscar in 2004 -- and there's no reason that he can't make many more of them.
A commentary on the troubling gray area between acceptable and unacceptable forms of violence, especially where the molding of boys into 'real men' is concerned.
The way it plays out, Evil feeds the audience's bloodlust as much as it decries the worst acts of its characters.
A powerful tale of boarding school repression based on a novel written by a Swede very much in the Stieg Larsson mold.
On the surface it seems very familiar ... and not altogether inaccessible to American audiences, but it also has the depth and substance we expect from our imports.
Powerful film where the transformation is painful to watch, but leaves you feeling hope. It took me by surprise at several turns and stayed with me long after the final credits rolled.
Add the mystique of a foreign language, and suddenly the U.S. considers it an art film.
The narrative has the same familiarity as the setting as Erik has to fight forces bigger than himself, giving the audience a story that justifies (and, not so secretly, revels in) its violence. Call it Fight Club at a boarding school.
The second half of 'Evil' takes this genre into new and challenging territory.
Its stuffy, private-school scenes nearly turn the whole thing into The Dead Pugilist's Society, but this Swedish import does have its chilling moments.
Director Mikael Håfstrom exudes no subtlety and lets the blood flow, at odds with the nonviolent moral message this Oscar-nominated film aims to deliver.
Solid enough, its main flaw is a sense of restraint -- it never quite ventures into the surreal darkness of the obviously comparable If...
Director Mikael Hafstrom demonstrates a sure hand with the material and is definitely a talent to keep an eye on.
So unsubtle as to verge on the comical ... this didactic drama is set safely in the past and says nothing about the culture of conformity at all costs that hasn't been said before.
While it's sometimes obvious, Hafstrom's film is so emotionally satisfying on a gut level -- like Rebel Without a Cause -- that it holds you from start to finish.
Audience Reviews for Evil (Ondskan)
Great movie. Lundstrom is amazing as Eriks nerdy friend Pierre. The cinematography and musical score are both really good. One of my favorite Swedish movies.More
This movie really lived up to it's name. These kids were creepy, evil, horrible human beings. I was at the edge of my seat for most of the movie. Thank god I don't know any kids like these kids.More
Gripping film of a teenage boy who's life has been dominated with violence from the world around him, and within his own family.
The violence which erupts in the schools shows how mean kids can be, but raises the question of why they are mean in the first place.
The main character Erik is expelled from school for lashing out at anyone who he feels to be in his way, and is sent to a prestigious private school where the students may just have more control than the teachers, and run with a rigorous, unjust code that makes sense only to those who run with it.
Erik(Andreas Wilson) is faced with the choice of facing up to the madness at school for himself and his friends, or to fall back into the "home" life he fled from.
Ondskan is a story that has been told numerous times and with the same plot twists. Group A rules over Group B, until a newcomer to Group B questions their position. This leads to humiliation and violence which soon reaches boiling point. Ondskan does this story very well. Mainly due to the fact that Wilson isn't a saint when he joins the school. He tries putting his own personal 'evil' away, but then realises how to release it. It's entertaining and engaging, but you know what's going to happen far too early on.More
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