Guillermo Del Toro has become the king of blending the worlds of the living and the dead. So many of his films explore a world of ghosts and monsters lying just beyond the boundaries of spiritually touched individuals. Brazilian filmmaker Samuel Galli explores similar ground in Our Evil, a film that shape shifts and transforms before the viewer from French extremism to South American spirituality.
Arthur‘s (Ademir Esteves) steady exterior hides a trembling soul as he searches the dark web for a hitman, Charles (Ricardo Casella). His instructions are very clear, but they’re not something he wants to talk about, instead opting to gather everything on a USB stick, which he hands over with the cash. After their meeting, Charles takes a pair of prostitutes home and proceeds to torture and mutilate them for his own sexual pleasure. Arthur, however, goes home to his loving daughter to bake her a cake.
It’s impressive that Galli manages to convince in both modes and that such seemingly opposing scenes both feel at home in a single movie. Dark and light live side-by-side, beautifully marbled as opposed to the “grey areas” that every other TV show explores on a weekly basis. The best of the world and the worst: feeling so far apart yet bonded on a molecular level.
The film also benefits from a pair of very good performances from the two men. Galli turned to local theatre actors and worked with them to tone down their performance style for the camera. Whatever he did, it worked. Like a Brazilian D’Onofrio, Esteves‘ stony exterior is a picture of intense sadness about to burst as a single tear rolls down his cheek.
Our Evil is an emotionally charged film featuring harrowing acts of violence. It covers a whole spectrum of emotions, styles and horror conventions, and yet manages to hold it all together. For all the sadness, it’s a film that aches with hope and values life, in all forms.