You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Evil

Evil --- though the title could just as well have been "Love" --- is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry in the Venice competition, "Evil" is likely to find more auds at festivals than on commercial circuits.

With:
Cathy ..... Pauline Cadell Pedro ..... Rui Morrisson Daniel ..... Alexandre Pinto Marta ..... Maria Santos Emilia ..... Lia Gama Assuncao ..... Zita Duarte Sean ..... Don Baker

Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry in the Venice competition, “Evil” is likely to find more auds at festivals than on commercial circuits.

The main narrative describes the apparently happy middle-class marriage of Cathy (Pauline Cadell), a 43-year-old Irishwoman deeply in love with her lawyer husband, Pedro (Rui Morrisson.) It takes her the whole film to find out about his casual affairs, which leads to terrifying consequences. In the meantime her social ideals, still intact from the ’70s, unlike his, get her involved with a juvenile delinquent from the slums (Alexandre Pinto) whom she attempts to get off heroin.

In other intercut tales, the delinquent’s mother is so desperate she turns to a Jesus cult for consolation. An old man, half-mad with grief, paces the train station with a photo of his runaway granddaughter. The little girl, meanwhile, stumbles onto an unhappy jeweler, who leads her to a hotel like an innocent lamb to the slaughter, but then he jumps out the window instead of molesting her.

Aiming to be more than a hodgepodge of soap opera excerpts, the film loads its characters with much more significance than they’re worth. In this vein, an apocalyptic end-of-the-world scene, experienced by Cathy as a dream or vision, falls flat on its face.

In Cadell’s excruciatingly honest perf, Cathy comes through as the only character who is really alive. Others are carefully set up illustrations of stock figures — the unfaithful husband, the rebel teen and so on. It all adds up to far too much abstraction to move the viewer or to work as the grand metaphor the filmmaker clearly intends.

Evil

(DRAMA -- PORTUGUESE-IRISH-SPANISH-BRAZILIAN)

Production: A Rosa Filmes/Radiotelevisao Portuguesa (Portugal)/Metropolitan Films (Ireland)/Camelot Pelis (Spain)/Quimera Filmes (Brazil) production. (International sales: Rosa Filmes, Lisbon.) Produced by Amandio Coroado. Directed, written by Alberto Seixas Santos.

Crew: Camera (color), Acacio de Almeida; editor, Catarina Ruivo; music, Nuno Carvalho, Vasco Pimentel, Victor Puertas; production designer, Maria Jose Branco; costume designer, Silvia Grabowski; sound (Dolby), Victor Puertas; associate producers, James Flynn, Luis Collar, Simone Magalhaes; assistant director, Paulo Guilherme Santos. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Sept. 5, 1999. Running time: 87 MIN.

With: Cathy ..... Pauline Cadell Pedro ..... Rui Morrisson Daniel ..... Alexandre Pinto Marta ..... Maria Santos Emilia ..... Lia Gama Assuncao ..... Zita Duarte Sean ..... Don Baker

More Film

  • Bradley Cooper Robert De Niro

    Bradley Cooper on His Secret Pact With Lady Gaga for 'A Star is Born'

    Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry […]

  • The seagull

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Seagull'

    Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry […]

  • Verne TroyerStarkey Hearing Foundation Awards Gala,

    Verne Troyer, Mini-Me in 'Austin Powers,' Dies at 49

    Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry […]

  • 'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts

    'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts as 'Last Jedi' Slips to No. 2

    Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry […]

  • Stockholm review

    Tribeca Film Review: Ethan Hawke in 'Stockholm'

    Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry […]

  • READY PLAYER ONE

    Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Crosses $500 Million Worldwide

    Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry […]

  • Hans Zimmer90th Annual Academy Awards, Roaming

    Hans Zimmer to Receive Steiner Award at Hollywood in Vienna Gala

    Evil — though the title could just as well have been “Love” — is the common denominator in this poorly spliced together handful of stories set in contemporary Lisbon. Instead of illuminating one another, these sadly familiar urban tales by writer-director Alberto Seixas Santos remain as static and contained as news stories. A weak entry […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content