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Ondskan|Evil

Film rises above seeming improbabilities and familiarity thanks to strong performances
By JON GARELICK  |  May 5, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Ondskan

Sixteen-year-old Erik Ponti (Andreas Wilson) has a tendency to punch the crap out of his schoolmates, and no wonder: at home he’s subjected to beatings by his nasty stepfather. Sent away to a boarding school, Erik is intent on making good, but the school itself condones brutality: discipline is left to aristocratic upperclassmen who systematically beat and humiliate their charges. This particular take on prep-school sadism by Mikael Håfström would seem improbable if it weren’t drawn from a bestselling autobiography by Jan Guillou. Would the teachers and the administration really ignore the bloody confrontations that are happening right under their noses? Set in the ’50s, the story even features a Nazi-like history teacher who instructs students on the physical manifestations of racial superiority. The violence is graphic and Erik’s struggle familiar, but Wilson’s restrained performance and that of Henrik Lundström as his bookish roommate make this particular revenge of the nerds resonate.
  Topics: Reviews , Mikael Hafstrom
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