Evolution, directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, is a film with a strange mystery running throughout it. Questions, weird imagery and a reserved presentation of it all, make this a film that certainly has your attention. This will be an interesting one to review as there are no clear paths to go down… but let’s try.
I’ll attempt to give a quick plot synopsis for ‘Evolution’, but seeing as its main thrust is a story that you are completely left to decipher yourself, that might be a little difficult. In ‘Evolution’, we follow a young boy, Nicolas – played by Max Brebant – who lives on a reclusive island where its inhabitants are only women and young boys. Something that Nicolas sees in the ocean sparks curiosity in him and he begins to question things on the island. His curiosity and need to explore, lead him to some disturbing ends.
The thing that dominates this film is the odd mystery at its core. From the first scene to the last scene, I was constantly involved in trying to figure out what exactly was going on. With every scene I would get a little bit more; whether that was questions or hints of insight into this weird place. What this did, was keep me constantly engaged in the film; I wanted to learn more, I wanted to peek behind the curtain and see what was going on – even if the answers were ones that would haunt me. ‘Evolution’ is one of those films with an inherent obtuseness to it; don’t come expecting a well-rounded story which has all the answers for you.
Evolution is one of those films that’ll keep you thinking about its content long after it’s finished. As has been happening to me; every so often moments from the film will pop back into my head, moments that stood-out and offered up clues as to what might be happening. I keep coming back to this film, and I keep mulling over what exactly might have been happening on that island; why its inhabitants were only small boys and women? What were the women doing? There are so many questions, and I’m not even bothered that the film didn’t answer them. I like the mystery, I like that the film approached its plot the way it did, and never stopped itself in its tracks to offer up some sloppy expository dialogue.
This is also a film that utilises its visuals to add to the atmosphere and the curiosity of the film. Filled with muddy yellows, vibrant reds and deteriorating greens; ‘Evolution’ just has an uncomfortable look to it, one that enhances the creepiness. Add to that, you also then have the use of sound; it is subdued in its use, but when it decides to use it, it does to meaningful results; a hint of a violin, the scratchiness of a Theremin. ‘Evolution’ is filled with elements outside of the brain-encompassing plot that heighten the experience.
Existing in all of this are the characters, who are reserved and as unsettlingly intriguing as the plot. The young boy, Max Brebant who plays Nicolas does an exceptional job in the film. Being our vessel into the weirdness, he easily carries the film along. While Nicolas isn’t exactly a fleshed out character, he is our window into the place, while the other characters in the film are people who add to the creepiness and to the mystery. I found myself relying on observation when it came to them; sometimes a slight emotional response would creep across their face, and though it was slight, it was something that would reveal a little bit more as to what might be the motive behind it all. This film is like playing detective, and everything is a clue.
I guess you’ll have caught onto the fact by now that this is a film in which you will never be given a clear explanation of what it going on. I must stress that if you are someone who doesn’t enjoy films where it presents a cryptic plot and then never reveals what is it all about… avoid this film, it will only frustrate you – just had to point that out.
I personally really enjoyed this film. It is one that will stick in my head for quite some time, and for me, that’s a film that has succeeded. It pulls me in with its intriguing story, and then leaves me to ponder it, long after it has finished.
So I will be recommending ‘Evolution’. Definitely not a film for everyone, but if what you’ve read in this review has you interested, then immediately go and watch this film, avoid the trailers and just let the oddness of this film fascinate you.
I’d love to know you thoughts on ‘Evolution’, what are your theories on it all? Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments down below. Want to keep updated on my other ramblings? You could either follow this blog directly, or follow me over on Twitter – @GavinsTurtle. I give my thank to you, for taking any of your time and dedicating it to reading my writing. Thank you!