At The Movies: Origin Of Evil

Stephane (Laure Calamy) is struggling to survive, working in a French fish cannery while her (female) lover is serving time in prison. On the verge of financial collapse, she decides to take the plunge and meet her estranged father, Serge Dumontet (Jacques Weber). She arranges to meet him and his new family at a French seaside town.

You soon get to feel the tension when he invites her back to his luxury French villa where he meets his wife Louise, daughters George and Jeanne and the conniving maid Agnes. The older daughter George (Doria Tillier) makes her dislike extremely obvious and soon after lunch bundles Stephane onto their private boat to be returned to the ferry terminal on the mainland and is told never to come back.

Serge, on the other hand, soon makes contact with Stephane and brings her back to the island where he has a proposition for her to help keep the vultures (his family) at bay from inheriting his fortune. With his health failing he is determined not to let them take total control of his business empire and personal wealth (I was insanely jealous of his wine cellar!!).

Seeing how Serge is warming to Stephane, his wife Louise (Dominique Blanc) decides on the tactic of “keeping your enemies closer” and confides in her. George remains the antagonist and is determined to find some dirt on Stephane. A couple of unexpected twists in the story crop up which look to unravel the plans of both sides in this captivating movie.

The film has elements of Hitchcock-style intrigue and is worth a visit to the cinema. Some of the promotions describe it as ‘wickedly funny”, though personally I didn’t find much (if any) humour in the plot. Despite that I really enjoyed the movie!

Movie Review by John Glennie

Screening at Palace Cinemas and Wallis Mitcham from October 19, 2023

Rating: MA 15+
Spoken Language: French
Running Time: 125 minutes