Friday 19 December 2008
This high-concept romance is notable at least for featuring the unhealthiest-looking teenage couple ever to smooch on a screen.
Based on the first of a best-selling series of books, it tells of how Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves to a new school in rain-lashed Washington State and falls in love with a glowering youth named Edward (Robert Pattinson), who's even prettier and paler than she is. At first he tries to keep her at arm's length, until his weird glinty eyes and cold hands tip her the wink: this kid is actually a vampire, but of a friendly, 12A-rated kind who doesn't drink human blood and lives with a family of similarly abstinent vampires. He is tempted to ravish her – he's a teenage boy, after all – and in his struggle to protect her from himself the film becomes a strangely moral study in restraint, where the watchword is romance rather than sex.
Adapted by Melissa Rosenberg, it's veined with wry comedy ("Your mood swings are giving me whiplash") and the grimy Northwestern light lends it an almost seductive atmosphere of dread. It gets a little silly, at times, particularly in the special-effects department, but Stewart and Pattinson are a quite mesmerising pair, and their twitchy, sidelong glances play out a duet of unspoken yearning that might just get under your skin.
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ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
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