6.7/10
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The Lesser Evil (1998)

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When four young boys decide to go over-board with dealing with two bullies, they believe they can get away with their crime. Years later, new evidence appears and the cops are back on the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Derek Eastman
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Frank O'Brian
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Ivan Williams
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George
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Young Frank
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Young Derek
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Young George
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Young Ivan
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Detective Hardaway
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Detective Smitts
...
Derek's Father
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Derek's Mother
Matt Bohling ...
Dying Man
Chris Blackwelder ...
Scully
Matthew Francis ...
Jock #2
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Storyline

When four young boys decide to go over-board with dealing with two bullies, they believe they can get away with their crime. Years later, new evidence appears and the cops are back on the trail to solve the murders. The four - now the owner of a failing lumber company (Colm Feore), a priest (Arliss Howard), a policeman (Tony Goldwyn), and a lawyer (David Paymer) - gather in a remote cabin to discuss what their future actions should be. Told in harrowing flashbacks and with obvious difference of current points-of-view, the men argue out their circumstances. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

28 August 1998 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Deras livs misstag  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A clip from the film is featured in Party Down Season 2 Episode 5. See more »

Goofs

Cadillac kept switching between 1969 (exposed taillight lenses) and 1970 (hidden taillight lenses). Plus the cars alternated between no passenger door mirror, Cadillac passenger door mirror, and aftermarket passenger door mirror. See more »

Connections

Featured in Route 9 (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gripping indie film makes heavy use of flashbacks...
10 May 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

A clever use of combining past and present to explain what is happening on screen is used throughout THE LESSER EVIL by director Jack Mackay. The story basically involves men who made a bad mistake in the past and have had their crime affecting their lives ever since. A reunion proposed by one of the men turns into something more than a mere gathering of old friends--and leads to another crime.

This is an independent film without wide distribution and it's little known among fans of the suspense genre. It's worth watching for the more than competent performances from a splendid cast, particularly the adult actors COLM FEORE, TONY GOLDWYN, ARLISS HOWARD and David PAYMER.

It's more a character study of the four friends than a straight thriller, but as the story unwinds--after a beginning narrated by ARLISS HOWARD as a priest giving a graveside sermon on a dead friend--it keeps switching back and forth between past and present to explain what is happening, each aspect of the story made clearer by revealing the past crime concurrently with the present action.

It's an effective way of telling a complex story of guilt and fear brought on by the killing of an individual and the extremes the four went to in an effort to cover up the crime.

The twist at the end comes as a surprise because nothing about the story is predictable. It's a well done independent film and one well worth seeing.


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