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Deliver Us from Evil

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Denmark, 2009
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Scr.: Ole Bornedal
Phot.: Dan Laustsen
Editor: Anders Villadsen
Music: Stefan Nilsson
Cast: Lasse Rimmer, Lene Nystrom, Jens Andersen, Pernille Valentin, Mogens Pedersen
Distributor: Bavaria Film International
Format: 35 mm
Color
100 mins

Ole Bornedal's smart, propulsive thriller opens on a deserted coastal road as the film's narrator, a garishly dressed young woman, quickly introduces us to the film's principal characters. They include Anna, the angelic wife of the town's unofficial mayor, Ingvar, a veteran of the Second World War; Johannes and Pernille, an upscale couple who recently relocated to the countryside from Copenhagen; Alain, a Bosnian refugee; and finally, Johannes's ne'er-do-well brother Lars. Barely sensate, Lars hits a bump and discovers he's run over Anna. Horrified, he hides her corpse and hurriedly devises a plot to blame things on the one person everyone will automatically suspect: Alain.

Deliver Us from Evil plays with the structure of Sam Peckinpah's classic Straw Dogs, but whereas the earlier work focused on an intellectual who ran from conflict only to find he couldn't escape it, Bornedal's film concentrates primarily on contradictions within the community, emphasizing the rampant xenophobia and class divisions. Here the outside world is seen as a threat. Bornedal and his collaborators leave us no conventional refuges, and the film's use of oversaturated colours reflects this moral nausea. Disturbing and corrosive, Deliver Us from Evil runs roughshod over political assumptions and prejudices.” (Cameron Bailey)

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