There Is No Evil
by George Wolf
Presenting four short films together as separately compelling variations on a theme is impressive. Make those four shorts all from the same writer/director, telling distinct stories that raise the emotional stakes in distinct ways, and you have a stunning achievement.
You have Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof delivering a political statement of immense weight and moral conviction. You have There Is No Evil.
After an opening segment that lulls you with a family’s mundane daily schedule before dropping a hammer of casual horror, Rasoulof unveils small sets of characters, each dealing with the effects of seemingly impossible choices.
While serving the two-year term of military service mandated in Iran, a man may be forced to perform executions. Go along you’ll get along, and you’ll be a killer. Say no?
“They destroy our lives.”
Each chapter of the film presents a seemingly unique paradox, then quietly mounts the tension before revealing gripping plot turns that unite the strands in memorably devastating fashion.
Dare we hope for any happy endings here, even when a desperate decision seems to pay off?
With four masterful bits of storytelling and the exceptional ensemble cast in There Is No Evil, Rasoulof deftly explores the wages of those decisions, as well as the immoral center of a despotic regime that makes them necessary.