★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Written and Directed by Eskil Vogt
Writer and director Eskil Vogt is having one heck of a year. His film Worst Person in the World was nominated for best screenplay and best international feature film at the Academy Awards here in the US and has been recognized at many other award ceremonies. Right one the heels of that film comes The Innocents (De Uskyldige in Norwegian) and for this film Vogt has taken the director’s chair as well.
The Innocents is a very hard film to review because I don’t want to tell you anything about it- the less you know the better. Going into the film, I had not seen a trailer (I didn’t even read the IMDB description until after), all I knew was that it was Norwegian, (I love Scandinavian film) written by Vogt (having recently seen Worst Person in the World, I knew I was in good hands) and being distributed by IFC Midnight – a “need to see it” trifecta.
Here is all the background you need: 9 year old Ida (Rachel Lenora Fløttum) and her older, severely autistic sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad) move to an apartment complex in Oslo during the summer with their parents. Ida immediately befriends Ben (Sam Ashraf) and the two spend the days outdoors away from the eyes of their parents playing some not so nice games. Little Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim) also lives in the apartment building and develops a friendship with the girls and seems to be able to communicate with Anna who doesn’t speak or focus at all around anyone else. As the summer progresses it becomes clear that there is something supernatural surrounding the children and while the days are bright, a darkness is creeps in and begins to take hold.
To know anything else would be to spoil this very dark and disturbing, but still wonderful, film. The young stars are absolutely fantastic and you instantly fall in love with them which raises the stakes considerably (yes, I cried).