Let The Right One In (15)
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Running time: 115 minutes
This Swedish production captures a beautiful friendship with very few words. Based on the novel, Let The Right One In will not fail to spark something in you — whether it is sheer disgust or, more simply, an incredible feeling of connection between two innocent souls.
The director, Tomas Alfredson, has done a splendid job in making sure everything that you see is atmospheric and eerie. Wide shots, long pans and a lot of stillness (mostly depicting the white snow) all add to the dark nature of this vampire flick. Our hero Oskar is a shy 12-year-old boy, very blonde and very enclosed. He has no friends at school and is frequently picked on by some bullies.
They steal his clothes and are sure to be as nasty to him as children can be when unsupervised. Oskar’s loneliness is something that is echoed in amongst us all; we all know what he’s going through and have felt such anger at such a young age. His only solace appears one night whilst he’s stabbing a tree releasing pent-up frustration with a knife, in the form of Eli.
A beautifully charismatic, and equally deadly, vampire girl befriends him – unbeknownst to him, for life. Eli is equally as forlorn as Oskar and their friendship develops over a series of letters they send to each other, not to mention midnight meets in the gardens of their residence building. Eli becomes Oskar’s protector over time and ensures that nothing bad happens to him. She teaches him to stand up for himself, which results in Oskar causing some very serious injuries to his bully.
In return, we see that all she asks for is acceptance. A virtue that every one of us is born with, but very few displays. Eli trusts Oskar and lets him in on some of her very own secrets; her flying ability, her sheer strength and not to mention a little something like needing blood from humans to live. She not only kills some of the locals, but also her ‘handler’, and is soon left to fend for herself.
Some incredibly touching moments occur including Oskar asking Eli to be his girlfriend and her teaching him Morse code so they can communicate between the walls of their respective homes. Equally so, Oskar refuses to ‘invite’ her into his home, only to find that she bleeds from every orifice and he almost unwittingly kills her. It was this moment that you knew what they meant to each other.
For a film that has children as its protagonists the director does a wonderful portrayal of the meaning of life and death; even more so when Eli finally saves Oskar’s life from the very same bullies he sought revenge upon.
There are not many words in this film, but those that are spoken are done with such a truism that you find it hard not to attach yourself completely.
You’ll be displeased to know that Hollywood is re-making this feature and it’s already in its pre-production stages. Sometimes it would be nice for them to know when to quit.
Let the Right One In deserves nothing less than five stars.