My tribute to Meeting Evil is not a review; it’s a brief love song. Therefore I feel utterly free to ruin much of the suspense within this exceptionally intriguing suspense film. Not really a whodunit, Meeting Evil is both a what’sgoin’on and, at the same time, it is the wonderfully provocative offering of a former philosophy major at UCLA, Chris Fisher.
To begin with, Samuel Jackson’s performance in Meeting Evil matches any corner of Anthony Hopkins’ villainy as Hannibal Lecter.
In the end, Jackson triumphs over Anthony Hopkins’ turns as villain because the perfectly drawn evil of Jackson’s character is destroyed at the end of the film. We won’t have to see the first impression left by the Jackson character’s villainy ever destroyed by the horrid likes of a sequel such as that worst of cinematic stains upon Florence, Italy – the self-indulgently Anthony Hopkins’ faux Brechtian turn in Hannibal.
I actually can’t wait to see Meeting Evil again and to virtually wallow in this film’s existential lectures on the meaning and meaninglessness of basically bourgeois America, only to see those lectures turned on their head by grain-belt America’s relatively slow but implacably inevitable common sense.
Initially you hope that the rest of the relatively unknown cast can eventually catch up to Jackson’s unrelentingly spellbinding lunacy until you realize that the cast’s performances are equally rock solid. All the actors are, indeed, exactly what their characters demand them to be. All of it penetrating to a suitably disturbing and surprisingly memorable climax.
In the end, the brilliant panache of Jackson’s character is matched with eloquent simplicity by Leslie Bibb’s portrayal as the hero’s wife, Joanie Felton… the woman who may… or may not… be the figure who hired Jackson’s Mack the Knife in the first place.
The “bumbling hero”?!
Luke Wilson plays a hero who’s… uh… just doin’ the best he can… under the circumstances. His is the performance that is impressively unimpressive. He just is John Felton. There’s no need to prove he’s anyone or anything else than a failing realtor who should be at the end of his rope… but isn’t.
The last film that impressed me in the same way as Meeting Evil was American Beauty starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. There’s a one-of-a-kind feel to both films and each has me wishing to stay informed about the writers and directors involved.
In the case of Meeting Evil, the writer/director is Chris Fisher.
As a self-confessed, American narcissist, I welcome any repairs at all given to the disturbingly incomplete, one-year brush I had with the French Department at Dartmouth College.
Here, however, is a particularly pleasing bonus within the many riches of Meeting Evil: Peyton List.
Our hero is utterly forgiven by this audience member for falling in lust with Ms. List. Her fearless and shameless sensuality bring a courage to the film that is only matched by her intellectual competition: Leslie Bibbs.
As they say, what’s not to like with this film?!
Apparently the critics found a great deal not to like and that, I guarantee you, is a tribute to their critical limitations and not to any major shortcomings in Meeting Evil.
There are no major shortcomings to Meeting Evil!
It’s a film one must see twice to catch everything going on, as this dark drama with a masterly light touch flows out of the considerable talents within its author/director and its entire cast.
Samuel Jackson, as the unquestionably senior artist on the project, leads the entire ensemble with an indisputably philosophic gravitas. His is a seamless aria delivered within the thrilling eloquence of bottomless rage. His eyes alone speak such volumes of intellectual contempt they make Jean-Paul Sartre’s dismissals of middle-class humanity look merely dyspeptic. The only racial motif is Jackson’s vengeful version of Dixie.
That Luke Wilson’s hero picks up the whistled “payback” theme later?
This film is then beyond color. It becomes its own treatise on human justice.
Jackson on a rampage! Ah, the amoral beauty of eloquent fury! Dionysian in its ancient authenticity!
Meanwhile, the confused yet tireless hero of the tale, Mr. Felton, grows on us.
Something about his depth of inner clarity and resilience.
If you don’t wish to buy Meeting Evil… at least rent it!
You won’t regret the investment. You’ll then be able to run it twice to see what you might have missed.