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Deliver Us from Evil


Sibling rivalry implodes — oh, brother!

Rod Lott June 21st, 2011

With "Nightwatch" director Ole Bornedal at the helm, the Danish thriller "Deliver Us from Evil" has a lot of promise ... and a lot to lose.

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The script establishes an interesting dichotomy of two brothers who share nothing beyond blood and a last name. Johannes (Lasse Rimmer) is a happy, successful family man; Lars (Jensen Andersen) is a good-for-nothing truck driver and effed-up model of domestic disturbance.

Just how effed-up is what gives "Evil" its initial drive. Driving carelessly on his route, he runs over a kindly, Christian old woman who happens to be a good friend of Johannes' wife (pop star Lene Nystrom). Rather than accept blame, he sets up the town's simpleminded "Bosnia beast" (Bojan Navojec) to take the fall.

That's where "Evil" loses its narrative momentum. As the townspeople get thirsty for revenge, the film shifts from a reality-based thriller into something akin to "Night of the Living Dead" with an out-of-the-way farmhouse surrounded by not zombies, but certainly by people without the smartest brains. They force our hero to use a nail gun to defend his family, and the heretofore restrained soundtrack amps up in aggression.

It feels like two different films patched together with one piece of Scotch tape, and only the dramatic first half works. The second half may be more conventional to viewers, but feels from another world. The power it wishes to "Deliver" gets lost under layers of unpleasantness. —Rod Lott



 
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