TIFF 2023 Review Evil Does Not Exist

TIFF 2023
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Despite a major slow burn of a plot, this is a solid follow-up from Drive My Car director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

Evil Does Not Exist Poster
Genre:  Drama 
Directed By:  Ryûsuke Hamaguchi 
Cast:  Hitoshi Omika  Ryo Nishikawa  Ryuji Kosaka  Ayaka Shibutani 
Plot Synopsis:  Takumi and his daughter Hana live in Mizubiki Village, close to Tokyo. One day, the village inhabitants become aware of a plan to build a glamping site near Takumi's house offering city residents a comfortable "escape" to nature.

Life in a quiet farming village is disrupted by urban developers planning to build a “glamping” site in Evil Does Not Exist. Takumi () is a jack-of-all-trades living with his eight-year-old daughter Hana () in a small village in a heavily forested village outside of Tokyo. The serenity of the village is disrupted when Takahashi (Ryuji Kosaka) and Mayuzumi (), representatives of a Tokyo talent agency, hold a meeting for the villagers to inform about the development of a glamping site in the area.

Evil Does Not Exist Synopsis

Evil Does Not Exist is writer and director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's follow-up to his Oscar-winning 2021 film Drive My Car. The plot focuses on the intention of urban developers to build a glamping, short of “glamourous camping,” site near an otherwise untouched farming village. The villagers, particularly protagonist Takumi, heavily object to the idea, with concerns about pollution from the septic system and a general disruption of the serenity. However, the bosses of talent agents Takahashi and Mayuzumi are adamant that the development will proceed as planned and send them to convince Takumi to come on board.

My Thoughts on Evil Does Not Exist

Evil Does Not Exist is a beautifully shot film, featuring many slow pans across the trees of this heavily forested area of Japan. The film has a major slow burn of a narrative, with the plot not truly getting going until an extended scene depicting a meeting for the villagers informing them about the upcoming glamping site. Evil Does Not Exist ends up being a commentary on how urban development disrupts the serenity of rural living. While the ending of the film might be divisive and open to interpretation, ultimately Evil Does Not Exist is quite a solid drama.

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Sean Patrick Kelly ()

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life.