Let the Right One In
While every teenage girl (and apparently a whole lot of other people) was flocking to "Twilight" last weekend, I was checking out another vampire film. If you're like me and "Twilight" just doesn't interest you in the least, maybe "Let the Right One In" will be more to your liking.
This Swedish tale set in 1982 is about Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a twelve year outcast who spends the cold winter nights outside playing with his Rubik's Cube. There are suddenly strange happenings in the town of Blackeberg which just happen to coincide with the arrival of a girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson). Out in the snow they begin to talk with each other night after night even though Eli insists, "You and I cannot be friends...That's just the way it is." But between sharing his Rubik's Cube and his daily school horror stories, Oskar wins a friend. Eli is angered by the behavior of Oskar's schoolmates and tells him that he must "hit back." Oskar does and begins to discover his true nature. Meanwhile, Eli struggles mightily with hers as she creates a body count.
"Let the Right One In" is an unusually smart and effecting vampire film. Writer John Ajvide Lindqvist and director Tomas Alfredson create characters far more interesting and well developed than the average cinematic twelve year old (though we're never sure how old Eli is really). Oskar is very much a twelve year old boy but there is a sense of weariness to him. It is as if the horrid treatment of him has made him an adult already. It is his old soul that allows Eli to relate to him. The subtle performances of Hedebrant and Leandersson are all the more impressive considering their ages. These are two young talents who will be around for a long time to come.
The world these characters inhabit is cold, dark, bloody, and eerily beautiful as seen through Alfredson's lens. The cinematography is amazing but only serves to create the proper atmosphere, not as a distraction from the story.
"Let the Right One In" asks that we sympathize with Eli in spite of her vicious, murderous nature, and though she is good to Oskar, she is still a killer. She should not be let off the hook for this even though Lindqvist and Alfredson may want us to. I had a problem with this but in a movie with so much to like and recommend this did not deter me from enjoying "Let the Right One In" very much. It is currently playing in limited release. In Seattle it is at the Varsity Theater. 8.5/10.