7.8/10
33,645
93 user 68 critic

Evil (2003)

Ondskan (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 26 September 2003 (Sweden)
A teenage boy expelled from school for fighting arrives at a boarding school where the systematic bullying of younger students is encouraged as a means to maintain discipline, and decides to fight back.

Director:

Mikael Håfström

Writers:

Jan Guillou (novel), Hans Gunnarsson | 1 more credit »

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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Andreas Wilson ... Erik Ponti
Henrik Lundström ... Pierre Tanguy
Gustaf Skarsgård ... Otto Silverhielm
Linda Zilliacus ... Marja
Jesper Salén ... Dahlén
Filip Berg ... Johan
Fredrik af Trampe ... von Schenken
Richard Danielsson Richard Danielsson ... Karlberg
Martin Svane Martin Svane ... Leffler
Rustan Blomqvist Rustan Blomqvist ... Bergvall
Peter Eggers ... Von Rosen
Per Westergren Per Westergren ... Lewenheusen
Henrik Linnros Henrik Linnros ... Beijer
Theodor Hoffsten Theodor Hoffsten ... Lagerros
Sannamari Patjas Sannamari Patjas ... Stina
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Storyline

Erik is expelled from school for fighting. He ends up at a private boarding school where the senior students control the young ones. Erik finds a friend in Pierre, his room mate. The story revolves around Erik who just wishes to be left alone and graduate. He doesn't listen to what the seniors have to say and they don't like it. Written by Mikael

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's time to take a stand.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden | Denmark

Language:

Swedish | Finnish

Release Date:

26 September 2003 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Evil See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

SEK 22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

SEK 7,008,000 (Sweden), 12 September 2003

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,448, 12 March 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$15,280, 7 May 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Erik is on the train in the beginning he sees a little girl with a doll. That girl is Emma Håfström, daughter of director Mikael Håfström. See more »

Goofs

It is sometime after Christmas when Erik is trying to see the Finnish girl for the last time but there are yellow and falling leaves visible behind him. See more »

Quotes

Headmaster: There is only one word for people like you, and that is "evil"
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sanningen bakom Ondskan (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Stupid Cupid
Written by Howard Greenfield (as Greenfield) and Neil Sedaka (as Sedaka)
Performed by Connie Francis
With the kind permission of Warner/Chappell Music Scand.AB and Universal Music AB
See more »

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User Reviews

The "enduring" hero
31 January 2005 | by harry_tk_yungSee all my reviews

Swedish "Ondskan" competed against a strong field in the Foreign Language Film category in last year's Oscar which was won deservedly by Canada's "Les Invasions Barbares". While my personal favorite is "Tasogare Seibei", Ondskan is a worthwhile contender.

The scene is familiar, boarding school bullying, upper class domination and violence. The message however is broader and more general. Ghandi has been mentioned a couple of times in the movie, which reminds me as well of the "enduring" heroes in the westerns in the fifties who adhere steadfastly to their principle, refusing to be provoked into violence (the best example is The Big Country). The motivation of the "hero" in Ondskan is however a little less lofty, as I'm going to explain.

Thanks to his dominating and sadistic step-father, Erik (Andreas Wilson) is well-equipped to endure violence and abuse when he is sent to a prestigious boarding school after causing a lot of problems at his local high school. While a veteran perpetrator of violence himself, Erik is effectively constrained as if by a spell cast by the boarding school: anyone fighting with a member of the student council will be expelled.

Most of the movie surrounds the senior students' tyrannizing over the juniors, and it gets a bit too long. There's no point in elaborating other than saying that the violence is not particularly graphic (accepting that some may disagree) and if you're going to throw up in the cinema, it's most likely due to some other revolting scenes, the details of which I'll spare. Although Erik's motivation in enduring the abuses and violence is essentially self-preservation (from expulsion), he does earn the audience admiration, which makes the poetic justice at the end rather sweet.

A great part of the movie's success owes to Wilson's excellent performance. Although most of the audience start with thinking that Erik is the "evil" character, they would soon turn completely around and empathize with him, and eventually love him. Also excellent is Henrik Lundstrom, playing Erik's meek, plump roommate who is victimizes as he becomes the villains' tool to break tough Erik. In addition to this affecting friendship, there are two other sub-plots which enrich the movie without detracting from the main theme. One is Erik's romance with a maid at the school. The other is his success with the school's swimming team.

Finally, one interesting point is that Erik's way out, his "court of final appeal", turns out to be indeed the legal route. While this makes it a little bit of a fairy tale ending, there is something to ponder over. There may really be numerous pockets of quasi jurisdictions such as the boarding school that really need to be straighten out by the real legal system. That point I'll leave to the legal experts.


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