"Let the Right One In" **** (104 minutes)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Back to Cinema Sundays at The Charles for, oh no!, another take on the vampire legend. Before you say, " no way-I know its been done before" I say how about this one: an intelligent coming-of-age vampire movie . . with heart! And if you say, "no way-this is not my cup of tea", I urge you to see this one with an open mind and if you do, you'll will be rewarded with one of the strongest films I've seen this year! This Swedish import knocked my socks off!! Beautifully shot (stark snowy Stockholm is stunning on the screen), beautifully acted, and beautifully written, this is the one to see in a season when, all of a sudden, we are being bombarded by the genre (HBO's new series, "True Blood", and the soon to be released Hollywood film, "Twilight"). Director Tomas Alfredson has crafted this beautiful love/horror story using a screenplay by Swedish horror writer John Ajvide Lindqvist, based on his novel. Set in 1982, it tells the story of social outcast and picked-upon 12 year old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) who one day happens upon his peculiar next door neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), who happens to be "12-more or less". After she immediately tells Oskar that they can't be friends, circumstances brings them closer together. And we quickly learn that the adult living with Eli, is not her father but her companion who must find Eli's human nourishment on the streets of Stockholm. Although there are a couple of graphic scenes, they are artfully done with minimal shock value. (I mean, come on, you can't have a vampire film without SOME bloodletting.) But the characters are so richly drawn and the story so compelling that, to me, it all fit perfectly together for a totally satisfying filmic experience on so many levels. And the soundtrack by composer Johan Soderqvist ("Things We Lost in the Fire") is nothing short of wonderful-accompanying the action as perfectly as any film in recent memory. This masterpiece is garnishing well deserved critical acclaim (currently 48 out 50 critic approval tabulated on Rotten Tomatoes) and has already won numerous awards including "The Founders Award For Best Narrative Feature" at this years Tribeca Film Festival. Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield") is already planning a domestic version (the good news is that he claims it is not a remake-that he is adapting the book from scratch and not merely copying this film). The title, by the way, comes from the title of a Morrissey song, but also has meaning in the narrative. The film opens at The Charles Theater in Baltimore on November 14th. Absolutely brilliant!

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