Evilenko


Year 2004

Pandering to no avail:

Malcolm McDowell   as  Andrej Romanovic Evilenko  
Marton Csokas as Vadim Timurouvic Lesiev
Ronald Pickup as Doctor Aron Richter
Ostap Stupka as Doctor Amitrin
 
Director - David Grieco
Screenwriter - David Grieco
Book Author   - David Grieco

You would think that if you're making a movie about Andrei Chikatilo, a Russian serial killer with over fifty victims, the heinous crimes would not need to be embellished. If you think that, then you're not David Grieco and you've not written and directed Evilenko. David Grieco even wrote a book entitled The Communist Who Ate Children upon which the movie is based. Lurid and pandering is one thing, but The Communist Who Ate Children? Isn't that going beyond the bounds of decency?

The subject matter is disturbing enough. Over fifty people, mostly boys and girls, were murdered by a real-life serial killer named Andrei Chikatilo. This was a tragedy. I'm not talking about a person's socks don't match kind of tragedy. I'm talking about living, breathing young adults with their futures in front of them getting snuffed out for no reason type of tragedy. The kind that makes mothers and fathers weep, makes people question what is human and what is animal, and makes athiests happy that they have something to unsympathetically and unfeelingly use as an argument against the existence of God. THAT kind of tragedy.

To defend this movie as a fictionalized account of the murders would be letting it off too lightly. It fails in this regard, it fails as a work of fiction, and it fails as any sort of historical drama. The author/director wants to convince you that these things that he's showing you could have really happened. The only thing he managed to get me pretty sure of is that he had to ADD. His characters do, too, so I'm assuming that it's based on Grieco personal insight.

Or maybe Grieco thinks that an over-the-top police state mind set is how typcial Russians live their lives. Maybe Grieco's still afraid of khrushchev and the Red Menace? (Hey, David! Nikita khrushchev's dead and even HE didn't have mood swings like the "good guys" in your movie!) And I'm not just saying that because I saw the vastly superior, Citizen X first and I'm judging this movie against that one. Even if I had not seen Citizen X, I still would've thought this was erratic, trite, and disrespectful to the memory of the victims.

If you want a little back story on Chikatilo, click ->here<-. Otherwise, we'll just keep rolling with the movie. (Movie? Rolling? Nevermind.) Before we get into the whole, "Who's the real whack-job, Greico or Chikatilo?" topic, let's talk about the real history invovled in the movie. In Russia, between September, 1978 and November, 1990 a man named Andrei Chikatilo brutally murdered between fifty-three and fifty-seven people. The true number is unknown because when he confessed, Andrei Chikatilo admitted to fifty-seven murders although there was only evidence to convict him of fifty-three. (ONLY 53? How sad the state of the human soul even thinking like that.)

The politics of the time play a part in Chikatilo's story so it has to mentioned that the crimes all occurred about the time of Glasnost when the Communist Party in Russia was being vilified. I say, "about the time," because you cannot point to a single day or even a few years where "suddenly" things changed in Russia.

Citizen X did a wonderful job of tying together the refusal of the government to acknowledge that a serial killer could even exist in Russia and this led to delays in not only solving but even understanding the scope of the crime. Evilenko gives this aspect a half-hearted attempt at relevance.

I have to admit that I was predisposed to not like the movie. I figured it would be derivative and inventive and not follow the actual events. I was going to give this one a miss. But after seeing an interview with Malcolm McDowell on the O Lucky Man! DVD where he stated that he was proud of his portrayal of the title character, I thought I'd give Evilenko a watch. ":Maybe," I thought, "it's just a good character study of Chikatilo. Maybe it's a light treatment of the horror and more of an exposť of the monster behind the atrocities." Then again, maybe not.

The movie follows Evilenko (McDowell) as he starts killing children. Vadim Timurouvic Lesiev (Csokas) must find the killer. How Evilenko keeps killing and how Lesiev captures him make up the plot of the movie.

It's a hodgepodge of reality and imagination. The writer took dates of real events and created something imaginary from them.

Things that differ from real events:

  La La Land (the movie)     Scary Place of Chikatilo (real life)  
  Evilenko's father a political prisonser   Chikatilo's father captured by Nazis  
  Evilenko's mother not mentioned   Chikatilo's mother raped by a Nazi
  Evilenko married for Communism   Chikatilo married because he was lonely  
  Evilenko's marriage was childless   Chikatilo fathered two children
  KGB solicits Evilenko to be an office spy   KGB doesn't care about Chikatilo
  Evilenko works as an office spy   Chikatilo is a factory worker
  Evilenko is a cannibal   Chikatilo is guilty of unhinged ecstatic behavior - but not a cannibal  
 Evilenko is picked up as part of a mass round-up  Chikatilo was never part of any round-up  
 Evilenko must ejaculate into a jar to get his blood type    Chikatilo had to submit to a blood test  
 Evilenko arrested for being a jerk during the round-up    Chikatilo arrested for solicitation at one point  
 Evilenko could telepathically hypnotize victims    Uh, what? He could what?
 Police smack around profiler Aron Richter to convince him to help    Profiler Alexandr Bukhanovsky agreed to help without threats or beatings  
 Evilenko kills his gay profiler    Chikatilo never laid a hand on his straight profiler  
 Evilenko is classified as schizophrenic    Chikatilo's profiled specifically states that he is not schizophrenic  
 No mention of eyesocket mutilation    Eyeballs removed as part of a superstition
 Communist connections got Evilenko out of jail.  Communist Party revokes Chikatilo's membership because of being arrested
 Evilenko kept a picture diary of the murders  Chikatilo kept no evidence or diary.
 The investigating officer's superior was againt arresting Evilenko  The investigating officer's superior wanted Chikatilo arrested s soon as possible
 Evilenko confessed the same day he was arrested  Chikatilo waited over nine days before confessing
 The investigating officer had to strip and go gay to get Evilenko to confess  The profiler had to show genuine interest in Chikatilo to get him to confess
 Nations offered large sums of money for a living Evilenko  Japan possibly offered money for Chikatilo's brain

I have to confess that I'm baffled by the need to introduce so many gay elements into the movie. Why did they make the profiler Richter (Pickup) gay? Why did Lesiev have to strip and manually stimulate Evilenko ? Why did they have to show McDowell naked from the rear? Seriously! What was the point of this?

I can understand homosexuality being mentioned during the round-up, but why all of the other times? What does it have to do with Evilenko? I kept wondering what other non sequitur nonse that appealed to the writer/director but had no basis in fact was going to be introduced. I kept waiting to hear that the Tunguska Event (explosion) was responsible for Evilenko's mutant powers. That's how out of place these gay scenes are.

And they're not the only ones. You meet Lesiev's wife once and it's only long enough for her to tell Lesiev that she's leaving him so that he can focus on his investigations. This just in! If my wife left me, no matter what the reason, the last thing I'd be able to do is focus on something else.

And there's the round-up. For some reason, out of a few million people, about forty men are chosen as suspects. How did they pick these forty men? And why is Evilenko among them? And since when is a sperm sample needed in order to get a blood type? (Never. That's when.)

To be honest, Chikatilo's after his arrest, it was found that the white evidence (White Russian? Revolution? Nvermind.) found at the scene of the crime was Type AB and his drawn red blood (Red? Blood? Communism? Nevermind.) was Type A, but that's never mentioned in the movie. So then why is this sperm donor scene forced upon the audience? It could've been introduced in the plot to great effect. Instead, the whole "donate into the jar" routine had nothing to do with the plot. I don't know, but I suspect it's related to whatever in David Grieco that had me commenting earlier about "excessive use of gay" also made him waste this scene.

Richter has super-human powers of detection. It's the only explanation for how he managed to pick Evilenko as the killer when Evilenko is on of millions. Oh, there's some weak explanation having something to do with an assumption that one of men at the round-up was the killer. (Again, how were these people picked as being the usual suspects?) But how does he know and the cops don't have a clue? And how does Richter knows where and when Evilenko will kill? He shows up to thwart Evilenko not once, but twice.

Evilenko kills about four times a year but Richter has some mutant powers of his own, I guess. If he can predict when and where Evilenko will strike, maybe he can predict me some of them there winning lottery numbers.

He's not much of a psychologist though. When confronted by Evilenko, Richter claims to be, get this, Evilenko's dead father. Say what? Evilenko's out in a field ready to kill someone and, lo and behold, a guy who looks nothing like Evilenko pops up and claims to be Evilenko's dead father. When Evilenko started in on Richter with his razor, I was shouting at him to not let Richter die without suffering first.

Yes. This movie gets to that point. You want most of the people to die because they're annoying. It's not like the movie has you care about any of characters after about the halfway point. The movie is so unbelievably farfetched that it becomes bad satire and goofy.

But yet people seem to like this movie. Who are these people who rave about it on the internet? Are they gay communists? Are they Ed Woods fans? Are they David Grieco under assumed names?

Some people gush about Ronald Pickup's acting. These people may not be communists, but they're gay. Not that Ronald Pickup didn't do a bang up job as an actor. It's just that when these people comment, they have to mention the fact that the Richter character was gay. Who cares?

Some people get all fanboy woozy about Malcolm McDowell's portayal. "O-o-oh, he's so scary!" Or, "Malcolm McDowell is just great in ANYTHING he does!" Sorry, but Malcolm McDowell didn't do it for me in this one. He did creepy things and all, but he never gained credence. It was just a guy doing bad things. What he did was bad, but there was no connection with his victims or with Evilenko. Citizen X was scary because the main character had a touch of humanity to him. Frankenstein was disturbing because he was a monster; he was scary because he was a human gone bad. Frankenstein's monster, that collection of reanimated parts, had more of an accessible back story than Evilenko.

And what's with the accents? Are they German, Russian, or British? You'll hear all three in one sentence. McDowell keeps dropping and finding his accent throughout the movie. Within the first two minutes, you'll give this movie negative points for this facet alone because it's so distracting.

The only time McDowell hit his stride was when he was on his way to the way to the trial. Then, for a few minutes, he became scary. Otherwise...nothing.

Other people liked the movie because of it's authentic settings. I'll buy that one. But unless it's a National Geographic Special, it's not something to solely judge a movie by.

Manhunter is scarier, more realistic, and more engrossing than this and that's a work of fiction based on fictional characters. Avoid this one and watch Citizen X or Manhunter instead.

There's no blasphemy. I don't think there's any profanity. For nudity, there's some with the corpses but they're not as nausea inducing as seeing Csokas and McDowell nude from the rear. Then there're the frequent "I'm gayer than you can imagine" sidetracks so there are a number of sexual allusions. (But they're not related to Evilenko's motives, so they're a distraction.)


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