Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)

Back in October last year millions of people flocked to their cinemas to see a love story between a vampire and a teenager that went on, despite terrible reviews, to be one of the most successful films of the year. Let the Right One In was not that film.

LtROI (or ‘Lat den Ratte Komma In‘ for those with a better grasp on Swedish than I) is a foreign language film telling the story of a shy outcast School boy and what seems to be a mysterious girl that has moved in next door. Shot in stunning widescreen, snowy, night time it is a consistently slow but moving movie about loneliness, friendship and addiction and though shadowed by Hollywood’s monster hit, Twilight, pisses all over it from a great height.

The direction of Tomas Alfredson is simply magnificent and his two young actors’ performances are assured and subtle. The story is interestingly told from the young boy, Oskar’s, point of view and because of this the world is seen as a very black and white place. Bullies are evil. Eli’s victims are fools and losers. Oskar’s Mother is a baddie whilst his Father is a goodie. Then, when it seems the reason for his parent’s estrangement is due to a suggested homosexual reason on the father’s part, their roles reverse. All this leads to the dream like feeling of a fairy tale (complete with the magical falling snow) chronicling Oskar’s metamorphosis from scared child to self confident young man.

The story of Eli, the strange girl that lives next door, is also told in a wonderfully enigmatic way. Many questions about her and the people she comes into contact with are kept as secrets. If Oskar wouldn’t have known then we as an audience won’t know either.

Finally the technical details too are well worth mentioning: The cinematography is breath taking (I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to have caught one of the limited cinema screenings in the UK) and both the use of special fx and music are bordering on perfect.

Quite simply this is the a film that happily sits up there with Pan’s Labyrinth s an adult’s fairy tale and once again shows mainstream Hollywood how well a simple story can be told. Watch this film before the Michael Bay produced remake (the rights have already been bought) adds a sexual element, a few explosions and a chase scene featuring a six wheeler lorry jack knifing.

5 ‘would you still like me if you learnt I wasn’t a little girl’ out of 5

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