Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Let the Right One In

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Year:2008
Country of origin:Sweden
Director:Tomas Alfredson
Genre:Childhood traumas
Starring:Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson
Rating:5/5
IMDB link:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139797/
Tagline:Eli is 12 years old. She's been 12 for over 200 years and, she just moved in next door.
Favourite line:N/A - Subtitled

The original, Swedish offering, remade 2 years later for the illiterate, subtitle-phobic English speaking market as simply Let me In. Given that the storyline is identical, which is better?

The plot:
A teenage boy, Oskar, is a sensitive sort.
Bullied at school, with no obvious friends, his is a solitary existence.
One day, outside his block of flats, he encounters a young girl named Eli; mysterious, reclusive, she captivates him at the same time as scaring him just a little.
Eli, it seems, has no parents, living instead with her grandfather, a man who loves her so unconditionally that, when hunting for her and failing, he is prepared to pour acid over his own face to disguise his identity.
Estranged, Eli now has no-one to turn to but Oskar and, he in turn, has no-one in his own life save for Eli.
So, an unlikely union is forged, one born of virginal inquisitiveness, utter desperation and sheer, total isolation.

Beautifully captured, this is a study in subtlety and understatement.
The two young actors are magnificent, the chemistry absolute, and at no stage does any of this feel forced, artificial.
A horror movie?
Well, yes and no.
It certainly plays with horror themes, but in a way that will clearly disappoint those interested purely in gore and violence.
Studied, intelligent, introspective, this is just a shade above the remake which, though worthy, was ultimately an exercise in futility.
This is very, very good indeed.

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