It reminds us that evil does not always look evil, or how we expect evil to look; unlike Voldemort in Harry Potter, it does not come with a sinister snake-like face, a hissing voice and malevolent red eyes. Evil comes through ordinary people who look and sound like you or me – indeed, who are like you or me. It is not primarily ‘out there’ but ‘in here’; with us and among us and in us.
That’s not to say that Evil does not have a wider, even a supernatural, aspect. The characters in the film are clearly caught up in an evil which is far bigger than themselves. Nonetheless, it is always the people themselves who make the evil happen; it is the willing participation and involvement of ordinary humans which allows evil to prevail.
The film shows how frighteningly easy it is for even normal and ‘good’ people – people just like us – to get involved in or become complicit in terrible evil, colluding with brutality and oppression out of prejudice, ignorance or fear. It shows how terribly easy it is also to make excuses for what you’re doing, what you’re involved with, and to ignore the terrible realities and consequences; even deceiving your own conscience to the extent of persuading yourself that evil is good and vice versa. And this applies to Christians as much as anyone else.
Indeed, the film shows all too clearly how even the whole institutional church can become complicit in evil, turning a blind eye, carrying on with ‘business as usual’, operating under and on behalf of a heartless and terrible regime, sanctifying their ceremonies, state occasions and funerals. This sadly is a historical…