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Friday, 10 April 2009

let the right one in.

This afternoon myself and Cardy went to see Let the Right One In at the Ritzy Picture House in Brixton. We've been gushing about how excited we were at the thought of finally seeing this film for over a week, so it had a lot to live up to.

Our 'OHMYGODIHOPEIT'SGOOD' gushing has since turned into 'OHMYGODTHATWASAMAZING' gushing. We were originally going to the Soho Curzon to watch it but decided that £12 was a bit steep for a cinema ticket. I would gladly pay that about of cash to see what can only be described as a cinematic gem.

Let the Right One In, a subtitled Swedish film, tells the story of Oskar and Eli, two twelve year olds ('more or less') living in Stockholm in the 1980s. Oskar is a mild-mannered boy who is bullied regularly at school. He spends his evenings imaging revenge and practising his knife-fighting skills on a tree in the courtyard of his apartment block. One night, whilst shouting at the poor, innocent tree, he is startled by Eli, a sombre-looking girl who is adamant that they can never be friends. The next evening, however, these two lonely characters find themselves talking in the snowy courtyard and a friendship quickly blossoms. Unlike your average twelve year old girl, however, Eli is a vampire who struggles to control her predatory instinct. Although she has to battle against her cravings, she becomes very protective over Oskar and gives him the strength to stand up for himself.

This film could have so easily have ventured into the Twilight realm where vampires are glamorous beings who twinkle in the sunlight and manage to curb their need for blood. Let the Right One In is a stark and chilling portrayal of vampirism and the effect it has on the infected. The audience, whilst acknowledging that Eli is no innocent, empathises with her and begins to understand her way of life.

The compelling plot is delivered with perfection by Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, its two child stars. For actors of such a young age, the pair are a joy to watch and present two extremely well-developed characters. The tenderness that they share onscreen is achingly beautiful. The direction and production are also terrific - the whole film is very sparse, only Eli's red clothing occassionally shining through the snowscapes and cold blue lighting.

As Cardy has just said to me, 'this film is not about escapism'. It is not your average vampire flick with a gorgeous blonde heroine and a dark handsome hero. Let the Right One In is a blunt depiction of what it means to be a vampire and a victim, and how the two cannot help but go hand in hand.

All in all, a fantastic film. 10/10.

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