6.8/10
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21 user 3 critic

The Lesser Evil (1998)

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:
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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
Marc Worden ...
Young Ivan
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Detective Hardaway
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Detective Smitts
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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>

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Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Release Date:

28 August 1998 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Deras livs misstag  »

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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

The phone booth in the early flashback scene clearly wobbles when touched and is obviously a lightweight prop. See more »

Connections

References Piranha (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Lesser Evil" is a taut, unforgettable cinema suspense classic.
29 March 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

And its reputation to that end will grow as word-of-mouth continues to spread about this utterly gripping film, a sordid tale of four carefree young friends whose lives forever are changed within one instant.

From the start, we are drawn into an inexorable spiral of almost unrelieved tension. An embarrassing encounter wounds the boys' pride, leading first to rash, childish posturing, immature decisions, and then to a mistaken identity in an abandoned quarry. The story becomes a steamroller in overdrive, as suspicions mount and personal loyalties melt away, overwhelmed by uncomprehending panic, sheer desperation, and the drive towards individual survival.

No other film I've seen has ever led me to as much ongoing "what would I do?" self-introspection. The once-secure bonding among the four young men collapses, replaced by terror and the fear of discovery. This descent into the "eat-or-be-eaten" dark side is part of the relentless march away from civility that captivates us throughout.

You'll not forget this film, its powerful imageries, and its fine cast's potent portrayals of psychological interplay. (Watch for legendary radio actor Mason Adams as the father of the deceased.) Highly recommended to adults.


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