This is a self-evident variation on her earlier film INNOCENCE, which I hold to be a masterpiece. If you have seen both, you'll see the correlation. This one isn't quite as good. But having once been a boy in a malevolent and confusing terrestrial realm, I can identify w/ the notion that mothers (and their doubles) are disturbing emissaries from a greater social body into which the boy has been plopped unwittingly.
An eerie and beautiful film where dialogue is scarce and images, sounds and body language take center stage. Something insidious is happening in that forsaken island and the audience only gets a few glimpses and clues about it, but the director conjures up a mysterious environment that leaves you guessing and wondering even after the film ends. I'll keep an eye on Hadzihalilovic's next works, this was stunning.
Discounting the side of a publicity look, with a stereotypical image in terms of tones and effects, debtor of Gaspar Noé's universe, from whom the director is next, remains an effective ambience, coming mainly from what is perceived or left to guess than from what is shown. Above all, there is a metaphor about the horror of procreation and motherhood that is not negligible.
Mesmerising imagery and a convincingly rendered alternative world are the strengths here in what can be read as a parable on the often confusing and terrifying transition into adolescence. Rich, emotive and haunting. 3.5 stars
In the same vein as INNOCENCE, another nightmarish childhood environment from the deepest recesses of the strange, perverse mind of Lucille Hadzihalilovic. This time, it's young boys instead of girls, but again under the charge of sinister women whose motives and methods are mysterious and bizarre. EVOLUTION, however, hasn't the delicacy and subtlety of INNOCENCE, exchanging it for Cronenbergesque "body horror". 3.6
I have read that Evolution is similar to Innocence, but I do not agree. I think that shooting on digital rather than celluloid strongly changed Hadzihalilovic's filmmaking style. The film does not convey the physical presence of the world, but is almost abstract: it is a dream. It is quite indebted with Cattet-Forzani's cinema of the unconscious (they share the same cinematographer).