Review: Deliver Us From Evil

Posted: October 27, 2010 in Film Reviews
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A scene from Deliver Us From EvilThe title Deliver Us From Evil applies to several of the film’s characters to varying degrees and in different ways. Nonetheless, evil is a pervasive force that comes in many forms in this small town and it is unleashed full force over a 24-hour period. The result is a film that conveys a variety of emotions very successfully, even though the events that inspire these feelings are not necessarily cohesive.

Lars (Jens Andersen) and Johannes (Lasse Rimmer) are brothers with very little in common. Johannes is a high-powered lawyer with a beautiful wife and two children; Lars is a truck driver and a drunken brute who beats his girlfriend. Having returned to his hometown in the country, Johannes hopes for a less hectic, more genuine lifestyle. But trouble is underfoot when Lars runs over a woman with his truck. He sees only one way out: put the blame on Alain (Bojan Navojec), a Bosnian refugee with impaired mental functions. But when Lars, the God-fearing husband of the victim and his friends close in on the Bosnian, Johannes stands up for the man and shelters him. Undeterred, the violent, drunken horde makes its way to Johannes’ secluded house, where the family and Alain fear for their lives. When words no longer suffice to contain the madness, a siege begins, in which unchained anarchy dictates a scenario of terror.

The two brothers could not be more different from each other. They are polar opposites in appearance, personality and status. To further illustrate Lars’ difference and instability, the picture utilities jump cuts that withhold only fractions but are enough to colour the impression made by his character. The film begins by comparing the siblings in parallel representations, which simply makes Lars look like even more of a screw up in relation to Johannes. In addition, their conflicting choices regarding the fate of Alain become integral to the plot.

The omnipotent narrator feels very unnecessary to the overall story. She introduces the characters and sums up the action in the end, much like a Greek chorus, but the narrative itself does an adequate job of these things. In the end, had she been absent from the script, it would not have had a negative effect on the film.

The story is quite intriguing. It transitions from a tale of sibling differences and tragedy to a terrifying survival thriller. The first half of the film is somewhat pathetic as Lars bumbles through life as an uncaring big mouth, passing the buck, while another man struggles with an unbearable loss. The latter half is a horrific look at human nature and mob mentality as a lynch mob quickly forms to take the life of an innocent outsider. The emotions conveyed through all these scenes are distinct and prevalent, succeeding in relating tremendous sadness and mindless anger. The failure to some extent is its attempt to do so much within a limited time frame. In this sense, the number of story arcs is somewhat overwhelming.

This Danish social thriller is an ambitious film that manages to accomplish a lot with an interesting script and good acting.


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