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Film Review: THE ORIGIN OF EVIL (2022): Intensely Entertaining French Thriller Has Twists and Turns at Every Corner

Laure Calamy Dominique Blanc Jacques Weber Plus Co The Origin Of Evil

The Origin of Evil Review

The Origin of Evil / L’origine du mal (2022) Film Review, a movie directed by Sébastien Marnier, written by Fanny Burdino and Sébastien Marnier and starring Laure Calamy, Doria Tillier, Dominique Blanc, Jacques Weber, Suzanne Clement and Celeste Brunnquell.

Sébastien Marnier has crafted a true edge-of-your-seat thriller with the masterfully conceived and acted new film, The Origin of Evil. The French star of the movie is Laure Calamy who plays a woman we initially sympathize with but as the twists and turns of the film start mounting, it becomes clear that there is nobody you can really trust in this expertly paced and surprising dramatic picture. The Origin of Evil referred to in the film’s title could be money but there are so many other wicked feelings and emotions expressed in the movie that any one of them could be the real origin of evil.

The film opens with a female character played by Calamy. This woman is on the brink of financial disaster and works in a fish packing plant. She calls herself Stéphane when she has nowhere left to turn and reaches out to her very wealthy long lost father, Serge Dumontet (Jacques Weber). Early on, we also see “Stéphane” trying to reach out to a woman in jail (terrifically played by Suzanne Clement) who she had a relationship with.

Pretty soon, Serge becomes intrigued by Stéphane’s assertions that she is his daughter. The two characters engage in conversations and the film slowly reveals sides to the wealthy Serge that make us realize that it may not be so bad if Stéphane tries to get her hands on his money. She’s entitled to it if she is, indeed, his daughter. But, she doesn’t seem to want the money when certain plot developments occur. Serge has aggression which makes him dangerous and this dark side manifests itself in key scenes within the picture.

Serge’s ever present female family members, Louise (the great Dominique Blanc) and George (Doria Tillier), may see through Stéphane or they may actually grow to like her as the picture progresses. Marnier weaves tension throughout as the story is never easy to decipher as the characters all need things and “Stéphane” makes choices that are both dangerous and ambitious but may just pay off in the end.

All the action culminates in a scene set in a hospital which helps the nail biting ending of the picture unravel. Somebody does something to Serge and another character seems to go along with it. There is much more going on than meets the eye, though, when that jailed woman “Stéphane” was seeing comes back into the picture. She wants to get our of prison temporarily after a key plot development occurs and it seems that she shares a striking physical resemblance to Calamy’s character as well.

Although this review has revealed a lot, there is so much more to the movie than what has been discussed. Laure Calamy commandeers this film all the way through with her fierce performance. She’s a woman who is in this for the long haul in regards to being there with her once estranged father. However, the consequences of her actions will either benefit her or destroy her depending on how she plays her cards. Calamy is intense in this role and keeps the audience guessing which way her character will turn next. It’s a fascinating characterization in a movie which has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

As Serge, Weber nails the part, making the character multi-faceted. There is an evil streak in Serge but maybe a sensitive side too. How else can you explain the decisions Serge makes in the picture but to say he’s on the fence between having some decency in him and being a total monster. Blanc and Tillier more than carry their own weight in the movie with two stellar performances which are fascinating to watch. Their characters, like “Stéphane,” are totally unpredictable. When a pair of cops come to their home looking for answers near the end, it’s hard to know what these characters will say or do when all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. The movie luckily lets the audience draw their own conclusions at the very end.

Ultimately, The Origin of Evil is an exquisitely crafted gem that shows the differences between the haves and the have-nots and explains why they have found themselves in the circumstances they are immersed in. Can a have-not such as Calamy’s character triumph and overcome the devastating circumstances she has found herself in at the start of the movie or will her own wicked desires ultimately lead to her downfall? The answers provided make for one of the best thrillers of the fall. Don’t miss it.

Rating: 9/10

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