LFF Review: The Origin of Evil

They say money makes the world go round, but having a lot of it comes with a price.  It puts a target on your back. People know you have it and they want it for themselves. When you’re the matriarch or patriarch of a rich family and entering the twilight years of your life, your siblings and offspring can suddenly look at you in a different light. Power struggles can break out. This is the starting point for The Origin of Evil (L’origine du mal).

Now in her forties, Stéphane’s (Laure Calamy) life has not gone quite as expected. Her lover is in prison, she struggles to make a living working in a canning factory, and now finds herself suddenly homeless. She decides to track down her father, Serge (Jacques Weber), who abandoned her mother after an affair. Serge is a wealthy man with a huge estate, but after suffering a stroke his health has declined. Her arrival makes his eldest daughter (Doria Tillier) and wife (Dominique Blanc) highly suspicious.

Playing out with many of the elements you’d expect to find in an erotic thriller or murder mystery, The Origin of Evil falls somewhere between a family drama and raucous romp. Writer/Director Sébastien Marnier follows up the impressive School’s Out with an even better offbeat take on the human condition. The assemble cast is magnificent, clearly having a lot of fun, while the story is so sharply and cleverly written. The Origin of Evil is a twisty tale of deceit and betrayal.

The Origin of Evil screens at London Film Festival.

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