The Innocents (From uskyldige) – Film News |

This film that crawls under the skin and in the mind, as it strips bare and burrows into childhood, balancing the kindness and cruelty of which children are capable, consciously or not.

Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum) and her autistic older sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad) have moved to a new house on a large estate somewhere in Norway and are settling there.

Ida seems to have a sociopathic attitude towards Anna’s condition. With barely a hint of emotion, she pinches Anna’s arm for an answer. Later, she tortures Anna by putting broken glass in her shoe, which obviously causes her pain and distress, as does the viewer.

As Ida explores her new surroundings, she befriends Ben (Sam Ashraf) who displays remarkable mental ability: he can deflect a falling stone from its path in another direction. Ida also tries but nothing happens, the stone just falls to the ground.
Feeling the need to experiment more, they find Aisha’s cat (who also possesses power) (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim) and dump the poor animal in a stairwell, a trauma he barely survives.

Putting this aside and forced to take Anna with her, Ida introduces her to the others and a suspicious friendship develops as their mental powers grow stronger. Especially between Anna and Aisha. There seems to be a revival as Anna becomes more cognitive and actually speaks. Ben however, a victim of abuse and a broken home, is on a much darker path and slowly his powers and those of others begin to manifest and collide.

A deeply disturbing film from Norwegian writer and director Eskil Vogt with scenes that will make even the most hardened viewers squirm. The Innocents approach life from the point of view of children (adults don’t see much of it). The charming curiosity and stimulations of this time were juxtaposed with their innate capacity for selfishness and destruction with little or no sympathy.

Ida, initially frustrated with her sister, begins to see something more in her as Aisha’s gentle psychic suggestions open Anna up to her sister and her family. Conversely, the resentful Ben associates his power with cruelty and revenge. It’s hard to quantify how much of this can be attributed to a terrible family life because the character develops enough that we feel that this villainy is a deep-seated character flaw, regardless of the environment.

The film looks amazing with the camera panning around the barrenness of the glass buildings, but also taking advantage of the bright sunshine and nearby woods, suggesting an urban idyll, at first. But it’s only a superficial luster once the camera descends into the complex and observes the daily life of the inhabitants.

The young actors are remarkable because their characters change with the circumstances. It’s hard to pick one, but Ashraf is particularly complex at playing someone who isn’t very likable from the get-go, although he may elicit some sympathy due to his situation.

The Innocents will be in theaters and on digital from May 20


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