13 June 2013 | nesfilmreviews
Intriguing and exciting, but ultimately falls short.
"Deliver Us From Evil" is a Danish film written and directed by Ole Bornedal. The film is set in the Danish countryside, after a young father moves back to his hometown with his family, where circumstances soon follow that force him to defend his family, and the way they live their life as well. On the surface, this is a stylish thriller both beautiful and brutal, with events that bring to mind Sam Peckinpah's 1971 classic "Straw Dogs." However, "Deliver Us From Evil," maintains a certain tone that prevents it from reaching the same emotional and psychological impact of its predecessor.
Lars (Jens Andersen) and Johannes (Lasse Rimmer), are brothers with very little in common. Johannes is a high-powered lawyer with a beautiful wife and two children; Lars is a drunken truck driver who beats his girlfriend. Having returned to his hometown in the country, Johannes hopes for a less hectic, more genuine lifestyle. But trouble is underfoot when Lars runs over a woman with his truck. He sees only one-way out: put the blame on Alain (Bojan Navojec), a Bosnian refugee with impaired mental functions. Led by the dead woman's husband, a retired colonel whose son was killed in the Serbian theater, the town's population of angry drunks and bitter workingmen instantly jump at the chance to crucify the outsider, but Johannes stands in their way, motivated by his sense of amorality. Undeterred, the violent, drunken horde makes their way to Johannes' secluded house, where the family and Alain fear for their lives. The house is converted into a fortress, where the madness and siege begins.
An engaging, yet over determined setup, the movie does little to complicate. What few twists in the story that exist, don't add to much of anything shocking or memorable. Perhaps it's the saturated high contrast of the cinematography, that while absolutely stunning, it gives the film an artificial feel. The cast is of one-dimensional clichéd characters, who all play predictable roles. The strange choice for a narrator whose introduction of the story makes it seem like it's a family comedy, and not a gripping thriller that is about to unfold. The end result is a brutally violent climactic showdown that may be visceral and exciting, but lacks the grit or the emotional involvement that would have made this one a classic in its own right.