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Sweden, Denmark · 2003
1h 53m
Director Mikael Håfström
Starring Andreas Wilson, Henrik Lundström, Gustaf Skarsgård, Linda Zilliacus
Genre Drama

1950s Stockholm. Though academically gifted, violent student Erik Ponti is expelled from his state school for pummeling an innocent boy, his headmaster’s words "there’s only one word for people like you... evil" echoing in his mind. As punishment, he is packed off by his mother and sadistic stepfather to boarding school.

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What are critics saying?


Chicago Tribune by

Bullying is not easy to watch on screen, even--or perhaps especially--if the viewer had the fortune to avoid either side of the bully/bullied equation.


Village Voice by Ben Kenigsberg

Is this an allegory against blind deference to fascism? It might be, but the root-for-the-Aryan-jock dramatics seem mildly fascist themselves.


Variety by David Stratton

Evil is not, as the title would suggest, a horror film, at least not a conventional one. Based on the autobiographical novel by Jan Guillou and set in the mid-1950s, the film relates the experiences of a troubled young man who's enrolled into a hidebound private school.


New York Daily News by Elizabeth Weitzman

Hafstrom never finds the shades in his morality tale, so while Wilson is an intensely charismatic actor, all he can do is respond to relentless, escalating tortures. It's immensely unpleasant for him, and, frankly, not a whole lot better for us.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

It's more about giving rich bullies the same comeuppance afforded to sneering wardens with bullwhips, and on those superficial grounds, it's reasonably gripping.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

The movie is as blunt as its title. It portrays such behavior as "evil" without offering any deep insights or revelations, beyond handing out the plot equivalent of a lollipop at the end of the movie as compensation for the vicarious anguish.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

Director Mikael Hafstrom - the gentleman responsible for last year's Jennifer Aniston bomb "Derailed" - keeps us guessing as he confidently builds suspense.

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