To find something new to cinematic themes derived from Dracula legend is, in itself, refreshing. To find both this and an incredible performance as that given by Lina Leadersson in her role as a child vampire, is something little less than spectacular. Yet the aficionado is not alone in appreciation of this Norwegian-made highly unique and novel film.
Again, this reviewer is impressed with production choices to allow a novel’s author to adapt his story to the screen. Director Toma Alfredson exercises his own superb array of choices throughout the telling of this film’s storyline that make it successfully, yet simply told. The beauty in so doing is also added to by some highly evocative special effects amazingly well done.
It may well be society’s own mundane tawdriness that makes movies such as this intriguing, but this gem goes even further in creating a complex character, at once horrifying yet capable of reposing to childhood friendship, even a form of sustained innocence. And to see the life force of surviving operating so well in the brutality of taking life as a necessary provision. To accomplish this example in the role of Eli requires a brilliant performance in order to be credible. Ms. Leandersson provides that and more.
Although it might be preferred to have had subtitles, the dubbing is quite well done and the results not tedious. The youth that plays Oskar, Kare Hedebrant, is a good casting choice and his performance is sound. He becomes lone friend to Eli, who seems to oddly divine his punishing life experiences have granted a required insight needed for such a bonding. The two work beautifully together.
Supporting cast is accomplished and professional, giving dramatic scenes every bit their due. Winter setting, working class environ, and matter-of-fact daily life adds even more to the movie’s success. Camera technique is unusually adept and the direction choices on how it is used brilliant.
Some nudity. Graphic scenes and perhaps strong language, probably cleaned up in dubbing. Here again we face the ironic dichotomy of banning children no younger than those performing.
Highly recommended, highly, highly, highly for vampire film fans.