A Serene Japanese Drama With Violence Simmering Beneath The Surface


Summary

  • Hamaguchi’s contemplative path in
    Evil Does Not Exist
    is complemented by Ishibashi’s eerie score.
  • The film’s divisive ending prompts deeper concerns about the presence of violence in nature and society.
  • Takumi’s peaceful life becomes disrupted by a corporate invasion, highlighting the imbalance amongst industrial improvement and nature.



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Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Evil Does Not Exist is a lot of items — a fable about man’s partnership with nature, a drama about a modest village’s fight against corporate pollution, a poem about the beauty and destruction brought on by the organic globe. Ultimately, although, it eludes classification, refusing to commit to getting 1 point and as an alternative asking us to query our partnership with the globe about us.


Evil Does Not Exist poster

Deep in the forest of the modest rural village Harasawa, single parent Takumi lives with his young daughter, Hana. The overpowering serenity of this untouched land of mountains and lakes, is about to be disrupted by the imminent arrival of the Tokyo enterprise Playmode.

Pros

  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi beautifully directs this contemplative film.
  • Eiko Ishibashi’s score is each attractive and unsettling, underscoring Hamaguchi’s subtle notion that nature is each attractive and terrifying.
  • Evil Does Not Exist has a certain-to-be-divisive ending that leads to even extra profound concerns.
Cons

  • It can be tough to tap into the rhythm Hamaguchi finds in Evil Does Not Exist.

Evil Does Not Exist follows widower Takumi (Hitoshi Omika), a resident of a modest village outdoors Tokyo. He lives with daughter Hana (Ryo Nishikawa), who he frequently forgets to choose up from college. Takumi is an oddball and the regional village handyman, respected but left to his personal devices. One day, the village is visited by persons who have bought land in the location to create a glamping web-site for vacationers. What these developers never recognize is just how delicate the village’s ecosystem is and how their presence currently serves as a disrupting force lengthy ahead of building even starts.


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Evil Does Not Exist Finds A Contemplative Rhythm

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Evil Does Not Exist starts and ends with an extended shot of treetops, filmed from beneath as if somebody is seeking up as they wander via the forest. Eiko Ishibashi’s score is mournful, but we never fairly know why however. The peaceful village of Mizubiki appears to be in a state of transition at the tail finish of winter. Snow is nonetheless on the ground, but it is gradually melting. Golden grass peaks via the frost, the ice on the lake is creating way for a reflection of the sky above.

Bookended by these two sequences, the moments in amongst vacillate amongst slice-of-life vignettes — a town hall meeting, a dinner amongst close friends, a stroll amongst father and daughter — and a thing extra ominous. Mysterious gunshots ring out, presumably hunters in some neighboring village. Ishibashi’s score will skip to sudden silence as Hamaguchi cuts to one more image. It’s all meant to really feel slightly off, as if we are not supposed to uncover our balance inside this seemingly idyllic globe.


[Takumi’s] close to silent demeanor belies a gruffness that stands in contrast to the warmth of his fellow villagers.

That’s probably for the reason that this balance will quickly be interrupted. We meet Takumi, who spends his time collecting water from a spring for the regional udon restaurant, chopping firewood for his wood-burning stove, and hosting fellow villagers at his remote residence. From the starting, although, a thing appears off with Takumi — his close to silent demeanor belies a gruffness that stands in contrast to the warmth of his fellow villagers.

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Hamaguchi Lulls The Audience Into A Dream-Like State

But Evil Does Not Exist’s ending is a wake-up contact


That gruffness permits him to reside a reasonably peaceful life till it is interrupted by Takahashi and Mayuzumi, two representatives of the enterprise who want to set up the glamping web-site. Though they are swayed by the villagers’ pleas to take care of the land they hope to occupy, their corporate bosses are not. With very good intentions, they return to Mizubiki in the hopes of meeting the villagers halfway, but their pretty presence is a reminder of the way the industrial globe is encroaching on the organic beauty of the village.

Takahashi eagerly insists Takumi teach him how to chop wood. Mayuzumi aids Takumi gather the water for the udon restaurant. These efforts, although, only lead to imbalance. As Evil Does Not Exist goes on, Hamaguchi’s path becomes extra and extra disconcerting. The balance of nature is thrown off. Time moves differently, cuts come to be extra extreme. When Hana goes missing, an ominous dusk settles more than the village, creating the surrounding woods appear otherworldly.


Evil Does Not Exist (2024)

Deep in the forest of the modest rural village Harasawa, single parent Takumi lives with his young daughter, Hana, and requires care of odd jobs for locals, chopping wood and hauling pristine nicely water. The overpowering serenity of this untouched land of mountains and lakes, exactly where deer peacefully roam cost-free, is about to be disrupted by the imminent arrival of the Tokyo enterprise Playmode, which is prepared to get started building on a glamping web-site for city tourists—a strategy, which Takumi and his neighbors uncover, that will have dire consequences for the ecological wellness and cleanliness of their neighborhood.

The finish of Evil Does Not Exist requires items in a wholly surprising path, 1 that left my theater entirely silent as the credits rolled. It may well appear out of left field and in some techniques it is, but upon closer inspection, it falls in line with every thing Hamaguchi has been displaying us up to that point. If, as the title posits, evil does not exist, then what do we make of such violence popping the bucolic bubble that has been presented to us?

Violence can be instinctual, a thing that lives dormant inside us till it is forced to come to the surface by intense situations. In that sense, regardless of its serenity, violence looms more than Evil Does Not Exist till the pretty finish. The gun shots echoing via the snow-capped mountains. Blood dripping from a thorn bush in a tranquil forest. A corporation invading a modest village for profit. The roar of a chainsaw in the front yard. It’s all there, waiting to rear its ugly head.


That’s hardly Hamaguchi’s principal concern, but it is 1 that he ends on. The final shot of the film is of the treetops once more. This time, although, labored breathing can be heard as boots crunch more than the snow. It’s unclear whose point of view we’re seeing, but it does not matter — what we see at the starting and at the finish, of life, of this film, of a shorter journey — is all that ends up mattering.

Evil Does Not Exist
is now playing in choose theaters. The film is unrated.

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