March 21, 2009

#020: Let The Right One In

This is a Swedish film about a pale 12 year old boy who doesn't have many friends. He gets picked on at school and would like nothing more than to exact his revenge on the bullies. One night he meets a strange young girl who has moved in next door. They form a friendship even though he senses something isn't quite right about her.

Let The Right One In was on many critics' top 10 lists for 2008. It also scores an astonishing 97% on When it came out last week I bumped it to the top of my list and waited in anticipation. This is definitely not your Hollywood movie. It is very "art-house" with lots of lingering shots and very little dialog. I watched it in Swedish with English subtitles, though you can watch it dubbed in English if you wish. The director pays excruciating detail to the sounds in the film. He also uses lots of close-up shots. It all acts to pull you more into the cold white Swedish landscape.

When the movie was over I wasn't sure what to make of it. I definitely enjoyed that it was something different. I liked the characters, but there were lots of scenes that I just didn't understand. I felt I had to sift through the scenes and decide which ones were paramount to the overall plot. At the time it was frustrating, but when it was over I enjoyed the sprawling nature of it. I felt like the main themes of the film were pretty clear, and I did follow them the entire way. I would say the main theme was one of isolation and loneliness. All of the main characters feel somehow cutoff from the rest of the world. The white Swedish landscape acts to reinforce the coldness they are feeling. This movie is definitely character driven, but is still a tense vampire movie. I definitely wouldn't classify is as a horror, but it did creep me out a few times. I enjoyed the fact that this is not like most other vampire movies out there. I have to admit I usually shy away from the genre, so I don't have a lot to compare it to. However, the ones I have seen always tend to glamorize the vampire. The vampire is usually looking and charismatic. Most of the time the blood-drinking isn't just a way to stay alive, but an act the vampire takes great pleasure in. In this film, the fact that Eli has to drink blood is treated more like a nasty habit she can't get rid of. It is presented as sick and messy. Her victims still have to be disposed of, and somebody has to do the dirty work so she can continue to live.

I would definitely recommend this movie, but you have to realize it is a little different. It tended to be slow in parts, but it just gives you time to enjoy the cinematography and story telling. If you do see this movie I definitely want to know what you thought about it. After watching it, I really want to read the book it was based on. I feel there was a lot more to it than what the movie could present.

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