Friday, March 20, 2009

Let The Right One In (Swedish Film) 2008

Well, Netflex finally relented and sent me a film that I had been reading about for the last two months. This is a winner, film lovers. Maybe you think that there is nothing new for the vampire genre, but you are wrong. No fangs, no garlic and although there are scenes that will quicken your heartbeat, the gore is minimal. Instead, there is a marvelous tale, filled with intelligence, wit and pathos. Damn, I need to see it again. Among the images that I can't forget is the "cat attack" the "suicide by sunlight" and the swimming pool scene. I'm trying to avoid "spoiler comments," but it is hard. One thing impresses me. "Let the Right One In" owes nothing to Hollywood. The only film that it reminded me of is an excellent Spanish film called "the Devil's Backbone." I would like to discuss this one! I just checked the Rotten Tomatoes critics rating and "Let The Right One In" got a whooping 97% approval rating. It has been a while since I saw one that high!


  1. This is the most intriguing movie I've seen all year. Unlike most movies in the vampire genre this is a poignant fairy tale- at times brutal, sad, and laughable, at other moments touching, innocent, and romantic. The protagonists and antagonists of the movie live in a broken world where everyone is a victim and each sacrifices portions of their humanity to adapt and survive. By the end of the movie the line between good and evil is so hard to define that the only clearly definable human trait left to celebrate is personal loyalty between individuals; therefore the title “let the right one in” serves as both a literal and metaphorical warning. Gary’s correct- this movie owes nothing to Hollywood. Without a top heavy budget for special effects the film makers had to suggest many of the supernatural elements ala stage production and depend on a wonderful script full of nuance and subtlety as well as fine acting. J.J. Abrams bought the American film rights and it is being remade by the director of "Cloverfield" for release in 2010 as "Let Me In". I'm skeptical that they will mess it up the way they do so many remakes of foreign films, but with Abrams producing perhaps we can hope for the best. I highly recommend viewing this version before the American version comes out however. One warning- Don't try to follow the subtitles! They were badly botched and the fans were so furious that the DVD is going to be corrected and re-released. The English overdub seemed okay however.

  2. Gary’s right, talking about this film without revealing “spoilers” is difficult; but most summaries will at least tell you that Eli and Oskar are 12 year olds and she’s a vampire.

    The version I watched (twice) was dubbed and probably the worst dub-job since "Godzilla Versus Motha". But even so, it is a terrific movie, hitting you on both a cerebral and emotional level. I like minimalist film and this one with its long, static shots of the apartment building and snowy courtyard remind me of Edward Hopper paintings, all straight lines and loneliness. You watch and wait for something to happen and then when something dark and untoward does creep into the frame it is totally unexpected. Much happens indirectly, slightly off-camera, and the director uses long shots to tone-down the heat of the action. Not to lessen the violence but to give us a more objective perspective into the why of the violence. "I live on blood", says Eli. And here the film, at least for me, really kicks it. I felt considerable empathy for the girl. She is 12 years old and will be forever. She is locked-out of adulthood. Imagine. 12 years old. Forever. The boy is also locked-out; bullied at school and caught between his divorced parents, he's fascinated with violence and acts out scenes with his very grown-up sheath knife (Didn't we all have one at 12?).

    Both portrayals are terrific. Locked into their twelveness, the two somehow find each other.

    This film will stay with you for a long time, particularly those scenes Gary alluded to, and especially the climatic scene, a powerhouse of artistic understatement. If you weren’t so stunned, you would burst into applause.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation, Gary. This film belongs to that specific breed of art that is able to give a new perspective on morality and the state of our own values. It was haunting in its persuasiveness, convincing me of my own animality, and humanizing in its portrayal of two kids in search of friendship.