February 28, 2011

#121: Let Me In (7/10)

Let The Right One In is a 2008 Swedish film that I quite liked. You can read my post here.  Let Me In is the American remake. They both have the exact same plot... a girl befriends an outcast young boy... she is actually a vampire... young love blossoms.  Both films have a fairly deliberate pace and a distinct tone, which is also very similar between the two. This is basically a straight-up exact remake, but I didn't have a problem with that. It is a very good story that I was looking forward to seeing retold.

A lot of critics cast hate on Let Me In before they ever saw it saying there was no reason for its existence. I understand their point as Let The Right One In is a very good film that was very recently released.  However, nobody is holding a gun to their head forcing them to see Let Me In.

If they don't like the idea of it simply don't see it, and be quiet about it. If somebody wants to re-make a film that is their business. One would hope they would try to bring their own flavor to it and not just make a rote copy. Let Me In is as close to a rote copy as you can get, but I felt it brought enough new things to the table to justify its existence.

I will just come right out and say it. If I'd seen Let Me In first, I would have liked it better than Let The Right One In. The pacing worked better for me, and they cut out some of the parts of the story that felt a little awkward the first time around.  It is hard to compare because I was watching the story for the first time and in another language, but I thought Let Me In did a better job at defining the characters and relationships.  That is really unfair to say, but it is true.  I should probably go back and watch the first film again, but I don't have the desire to do that right now.  In many ways I enjoyed Let Me In more, and even thought I knew the eventual fate of the characters, I still found the film interesting and engaging.

Let Me In has one major weakness when standing up against its predecessor.  Chloe Moretz does a fine job playing the vampire "girl" in Let Me In, but something about it just didn't feel right. If they could have taken Lina Leandersson from the first film and put her in the new one I fell like it would have worked much better.  Moretz is maybe a little too old for the role or something.  There was a poignant androgyny present in the first film that wasn't there in the remake.

If you haven't seen either film, and you are an American, I would probably recommend Let Me In before its Swedish counterpart. It is more accessible, and still has a lot of what made the original so good.  However, there is something you will be missing out on, so you should really see both. But it will probably be better to watch Let The Right One In second.  They are both very good films based on an interesting story. Maybe I should just read the book.

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