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.
| Original Score: 4/5
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.
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.
Extremely watchable, even if it never goes as deep as it should.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
The second half of 'Evil' takes this genre into new and challenging territory.
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
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.
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.
Solid enough, its main flaw is a sense of restraint -- it never quite ventures into the surreal darkness of the obviously comparable If...
| Original Score: 3/5
Director Mikael Hafstrom demonstrates a sure hand with the material and is definitely a talent to keep an eye on.
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Hafstrom ... keeps us guessing as he confidently builds suspense.
The microcosm of the boarding school is a potent backdrop to be sure, but it is ultimately a metaphorical backdrop whose import reaches far beyond the story it tells.
Although Evil eventually suffers from its heavy-handed treatment of its subject, it is a well-made and engrossing melodrama.
Wilson is a powerful presence as the slow-burning but, when roused, very violent Erik, while Lundstrom movingly portrays the vulnerable Pierre.
Watching this time bomb tick away is never less than riveting.
| Original Score: B-
There are better films tackling similar issues, but Evil is a confident and well-told drama full of wonderful promise from both director and stars alike.
| Original Score: 70/100
It's assured filmmaking and proof that school isn't always the best days of your life.