As our nation slides into a waking nightmare, it makes sense that 2016 has been a good year for dream-logic films, and few have given so few fucks about whether or not your conscious mind can parse it than Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s Evolution. It makes Tikkun and The Neon Demon seem like they’re straight out of the Syd Field scriptwriting class, and while it never quite exceeds the sum of its parts the way those films do, Evolution‘s dedication to its tone and overall sense of “Wait, what?” is admirable. Nicolas (Max Brebant) is one of a group of young boys who live in a windy seaside town where they’re taken care of (for want of a better phrase) by pale women who feed the boys icky green food and often perform ultrasounds and surgeries on them. After Nicolas sees what he believes to be the submerged body of another boy with a starfish on his stomach, he begins to question everything about his existence, particularly regarding the pale women who take care of them (again, for want of a better phrase). Evolution never quite gives up its secrets — starfish again — and it’s not a coincidence that the opening shots are deep underwater, since the picture submerges the viewer in its world and keeps them there.
Evolution Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.