Evil review

From Tom Brown's Schooldays to Harry Potter, us Brits have always been fascinated by public schools and their arcane rituals. Judging from Evil, though, we don't have a monopoly on fags, prep and institutionalised sadism.

Set in Stockholm in the '50s, this Oscar-nominated melodrama tells of Erik (Andreas Wilson), a bad boy from an abusive home sent to a posh boarding school to straighten himself out. It doesn't take him long to tweak the nobs' noses, with disciplinarian prefect Silverhielm (Gustaf Skarsgård, son of Stellan) resolving to break his spirit.

You can't help feeling that if the boys would only budge an inch from their respective positions it could all be sorted out before tuck. Instead, petty humiliations and malicious pranks lead to violent confrontations that are more Fight Club than Goodbye, Mr Chips. But Mikael Hafström's film still evokes a chilly austerity and a brooding menace.


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