Stéphane (Laure Calamy) is a forty-five-year-old woman who lives without a husband and has never had children. Every day, she works at a fish cannery in Fos-sur-Mer. Given her current age, lifestyle and the challenges she’s facing in the present day, including someone close to her being in prison, she decides now is the time to reconnect with her father, Serge. It’s evident that Stéphane barely knows him. Even reaching out takes an emotional toll on her, as the two have always been distant from each other for unknown reasons.
After travelling by boat, Stéphane meets with Serge and is invited back home to attend a reunion where she will meet the rest of the family. Her arrival is frowned upon by members of the family. On the other hand, Serge is quite welcoming of her and even pleads for help and support when it comes to saving the family fortune. Stéphane soon learns more about Serge’s past and current health conditions, including his recent stroke. Now, Stéphane will do everything she can to help her father and protect his business, fortune, and legacy against her own family she never knew she had until now. However, not everything is what it appears to be.
The Origin of Evil is best described as a thriller with strong moments of drama thrown in the mix. During the opening it’s easy to feel sympathy for Stéphane even if we don’t know all the finer details about her life. Once Stéphane meets her father and the family, the film becomes more interesting, and audiences will be intrigued to know the outcomes.
Performances here are great from Laure Calamy. It’s easy to like this character, even if all the details as to why she suddenly contacts her father seem somewhat vague. As the plot progresses, there are some major changes that the character goes through. Jacques Weber as Serge is also great, and I loved the mysterious aspect of his character. Is he a gentle, caring, loving father or is he up to something? I couldn’t stop contemplating this over and over again due to his performance.
I can’t fault anything in the filming, and I loved some of the creative angles and zoom-in shots that were used here, adding an element of mystery and curiosity. When it comes to the plot and story, I did find many aspects and plot details obvious and predictable, but the greater payoff and reward occurs within the final act, which did manage to surprise me. At the same time, I felt the third act also overstayed its welcome, and the runtime by this point had begun to drag.
Overall, those who enjoy a solid thriller with some added family drama thrown into the mix will certainly enjoy watching all events unfold when a daughter attempts to reconnect with her long-lost father. That being said, I found most of the major plot details predictable, but the hook that kept me invested was wanting to see everything unfold. The unpredictable third act did carry a rich reward. The filming style here is excellent as is the leading performance from actress Laure Calamy. Her character was great despite being shy about sharing deeper details about herself to begin with. It’s a fun thriller with various twists and turns. Slightly longer than I preferred, it was enjoyable nevertheless. The Origin of Evil (2022) is available at Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2023. For more information, check out the link here: https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/.