Evil (Ondskan) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Evil (Ondskan) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 3, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
January 9, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2009
Eric Ponti is a young man, who often gets into trouble. At home, he is constantly abused by his stepfather. After his latest fight at school, his mother sends him to the last available place, an upper-class boarding school. Trouble follows him and he has to make a choice, let him or his friend suffer.

"Ondskan" is a stunning movie about adolescent behaviour, a study on how cruelty leads to violence. The themes in the movie, although set in mid 20th century Sweden, are relevant of the world today. School violence and disturbing behaviour of children are on the rise.

Mikael Håfström, now making a career in Hollywood, did an almost perfect film. The violence is more mental and is more felt than seen but some scenes are pretty disturbing.

"Ondskan" has some clichés and a somewhat of a fairy tale ending. But simply put the acting, especially Andras Wilson's, takes "Ondskan" to a higher level than most similar films. A very compelling film.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2008
A troubled boy in 1950s Sweeden conflicts with the snooty, sadistic ruling class at an exlusive boarding school. Well made but standard story about standing up to bullies, nominated for a best foregn language film Oscar because it was Sweeden's turn.
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2008
Pure swedish brutality
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2007
One of the best swedish movies of all time :-) It's no wonder it got nominated for an Oscar.
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2007
"Evil" starts with Erik(Andreas Wilson) being expelled from his school for bullying and fighting.(Extenuating circumstances might include his being whipped on a nightly basis by his stepfather while his mother plays the piano in the next room.) His principal declares him to be the personification of evil. Obviously, he never went to the boarding school where Erik is being sent which is his last chance to advance to the Sixth Form. The older students led by Otto Silverhielm(Gustaf Skarsgard) rule over the younger students with an iron hand wrapped in velvet.

"Evil" is a technically well-made movie but it is also tedious, contrived and full of two-dimensional characters. It does not say anything new about bullies that has not been said hundreds of times before and the "Rebel without a Cause" reference is a tad obvious. Look, we all know that children learn how to be cruel from their elders and that evil flourishes when good people do nothing to stop it. And if Erik is so desperate to graduate, then why does he act the way he does?
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2009
How far can a person be pushed before he pushes back? Although this type of story has been done in many ways, I enjoyed this telling of the story. Having been subjected to numerous beatings growing up, the main character deals with his own problems the same way. With his last chance at making something of his life, we watch his struggles to deal with private school bullying without resorting to the tactics that have previously been his downfall. The actor does a wonderful job at portraying this struggle. Unfortunately, the lesson the film gives us is that peace is not always the answer; violence is sometimes a necessary evil. The director does a wonderful job at making you feel part of the story and the emotions that go along with it.
Super Reviewer
½ July 13, 2007
I find it very curious how a film called "Evil", which claims to be anti-violence, has a curiously traditionalist view on fighting: trading blows is ok as long as the people who get their asses kicked really deserve it. Half the film is spent glorifying violence while the other half is spent criticizing it. There are scenes where we are expected to recoil, seeing violence as the messy and pathetic expression that it is, and others where we are expected to cheer on. These diverging points of view never relly mesh together, and make for an increasingly unsatisfying second half, and an absolutely phony ending.

The first half of the film is, on the other hand, very good. The writing is very pedestrian, but the performances are up to the task. The strongest portions are spent exploring life at the boarding school. Teachers (one of them a former nazi) do not hit the students, rather the students police themselves. It is slowly revealed just how sick this system is, how it escentially revenge as official policy, and sadism as authority. The enviroment, so peaceful on the surface, is complicated evey more by the presence of jewish stuents (a relatively new occurrance after WW2, and not entirely well looked at by a german teacher), noblemen and "common" rich students. It is not explicitly stated, but much of what happens in the film is the result of tension stemming class relations, propriety and traditional roles.

The romance has no place in the film, and its sole reason for existing is to provide the script's author with an out later on in the film. The fact that the woman in question is a servant at the school, and Finnish, adds to the class relations boiling pot, but does so in the most basic of manners. Her character could have been cut out and the film would have been the better for it.

What ultimately prevents the film from taking off is its confused morals. Despite its political overtones and somewhat allegorical nature, it is not sure what exactly it is trying to say so it swings, ambivalently, from one end of the spectrum to the other hoping to please everyone. Compromising in this fashion is cowardly, but the first half of the film is so strong is bears watching anyway.
July 21, 2012
A well-made movie, featuring good acting and polished production (perhaps even too polished). The story seems a bit predictable and familiar, and something is lacking in character development - some of the protagonist's actions weren't logical and his transformation didn't convince me.
½ February 2, 2012
Hmm. This one is tricky. It pulls you in from the get-go, then sort of loses you before pulling you right back in. I will say one thing, though: the bullying here is rather horrifying and the protagonist's motivations are never doubted. But the way the school is run here makes no sense, which sort of invalidates much of the effects of the bullying when I reflect on it. In any case, I feel for Erik and his friend, and things remain interesting enough until the third act, which feels rushed and has a completely different tone than the rest of the film. It's disappointing, but the rest of the film is pretty great. Pretty torn on the actual quality of the film, but I like it anyway.
February 1, 2012
I thought this was a really good movie. If youdon't likesubtitles you won't like it, but I suggest watching if you can find it.
½ October 17, 2006
A film that manages to be both brutal yet (oddly) inspiring. Erik is an extremely likeable main character, and watching his desperate attempt to fix things the right way is heartwrenching. The supporting cast is all excellent, too, particularly Henrik Lundstrom as his roommate Pierre. Captivating.
January 5, 2011
Evil (Ondskan) is a story about Erik, 16, who has dealt with a series of life-plaguing violence and neglect. Who then goes to boarding school, faced with a whole lot of delinquents (or so it seems) The school, however, is strictly lead and enforced by the senior students. Whereas the faculty; basically ignores and has no say in this code. Then on, Erik is further faced with violence among his oppressors where he has to choose, between expulsion, humiliation or standing up for himself.

This movie was quite amusing with it's entreating story. Definitely an interesting film to watch as it is precisely engaging and welly holds your interest throughout the film. As well as entertaining, this film was gripping, and likable. Good performances are mentionable as well. Nonetheless, this film was very decent. The take on the story, again, is wielded great. An awesome Swedish film.
February 13, 2010
A film to get sucked into. Good acting, good storyline. Unlike the synopsis makes you feel about the main character, you really urge him on in the movie and want people to get what they have coming to them. It's an exercise in morality, human rights, self control, and the potential ramifications of unnecessary aggression.
½ February 4, 2010
An abused young man is sent to an exclusive prep school where he tries to turn over a new leaf, only to butt heads with the older boys time and again.

A very well acted film that shows both the futility of violence and the very real occasions that it's called for in one's life.

well worth a rental.
February 26, 2007
One of my favorites (obviously since it's on the list). It's Swedish (bonus points) and people get beat up (more bonus points).
½ June 5, 2015
A story can be done to death, but a story can also be done very well, and here it is! Dramatic and if not occasionally delivered by wit!
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