"Deliver Us From Evil" Movie Review: 2 1/2 Stars
by Kenneth Turan
"Deliver Us From Evil" is an insistent puppy of a movie, just about willing you to like it. And while it has appeal -- you'd have to be a troll to resist it completely -- you may end up wanting to enjoy it more than its qualities will allow.
For though both films are unapologetic fairy tales centering on the power of music to transform relationships, not to mention lives, "Deliver Us From Evil" demonstrates that revisiting thematically similar material with bigger stars runs the risk of losing the qualities that made the idea so effective in the first place.
Knightley and Ruffalo are certainly much more accomplished actors than "Once's"
Anyone who enjoyed "Once" will be able to appreciate the talent director Carney has for making music cinematic and cinema musical. It's not only the appealing way Carney and cinematographer
Though its basic "music will save you" premise is simple, "Deliver Us From Evil's" opening sections are a bit convoluted. It all starts with an open mic night at a scruffy lower
Greta is not at her best, the song is in bad shape, the crowd is indifferent, but one inebriated man,
Though he still drives a Jaguar that's a remnant of palmier days, Dan is a wreck. Once a gifted record producer, he hasn't signed anyone of value in years and has just been fired from the company he founded by Saul (Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def).
Once happily married, he lives apart from his wife, Miriam (
Yet Dan still has great ears, and one of "Deliver Us From Evil's" better scenes allows us to hear the orchestrations he's imagining for Greta's tepid song while we see the other instruments in the bar playing themselves.
Because Dan has been a jerk up to this point in the film, it's not surprising that Greta, a purist who cares not a whit for commercial success, blows off his inebriated attempts to persuade her to work with him on a record.
But, as yet another extended flashback shows us, Greta is also nursing a broken heart. She came to
It's no surprise that Greta comes around and agrees to work with Dan, but the amount of unconvincing exposition we're expected to swallow is disheartening in a way it never was in "Once."
Yet, just when you are ready to completely write off "Deliver Us From Evil," the music starts to play, the camera takes it all in and makes us a part of it, and the film's unpersuasive emotions don't seem to matter as much.
MPAA rating: R (for bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout, and language)
Running time: 1:58.
"Deliver Us From Evil" Movie Trailer
"Deliver Us From Evil" is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta and her long-time boyfriend Dave are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan, a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.
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'Deliver Us From Evil' Movie Review & Movie Trailer