The Origin of Evil


Families can be extraordinarily complicated; not only are there often black sheep to contend with, but then there can be a number of fallouts between siblings, parents, and anyone else who happens to be within fallout range.

And yet there are those, such as orphans, that long to belong to such an awkward collective, regardless of the challenges. More fool them.

This film follows a woman and her desire to be back in her father’s life, but not necessarily for family bonding.

boom reviews The Origin of Evil
That's it my child, rest on my sensual bosom...

Working a rather miserable job in a fish factory is Stéphane (Laure Calamy). With her girlfriend in prison, she feels very much alone, much like she did growing up, without parents. But when a woman informs her of where her biological father is, she decides to follow it up and get in contact with him.

He invites her onto the island where he lives, in luxury, with his existing family, who are unsurprisingly suspicious of her arrival. It’s not exactly happy families then, nor should it be, as everything isn’t quite as it seems.

boom reviews The origin of evil
So this is what my inheritence was spent on!

For at least half of Sébastien Marnier’s film it follows a story of a young woman with wanting a sense of belonging and family, not having one of her own. And then it pivots, somewhat deliciously, into a look at identity, albeit with a heavy dose of criminal intent.

Much of the film’s success is down to Calamay’s performance, that even when you know the full extent of what’s going on, there is still an air of innocence to her character. Is it a legitimate deceit or could it perhaps be a mental health issue – whatever it is, she keeps you guessing right up until the end.

Marnier is also quite playful with his direction, where he occasionally splits the screen with his characters in it, instead of cutting from one shot to the next. It’s a little gimmicky but works well in this instance.

It’s the type of film where it’s probably better to go into it knowing as little as possible about it – which accounts for our purposefully vague critique - because it’s only then that the entire experience becomes hugely rewarding.

It’s a very smart and absorbing effort from the French filmmaker, with such a pleasing twist, with what is truly an impressive ‘family’ film.

we give this four out of five