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Archive for April 16th, 2009

 

eli

A few years ago I told anyone who would listen (and a few who wouldn’t) that Pan’s Labyrinth was by far the best film of the year.  We are now just over a third of the way through this year and have a new contender for film of the year.  In my estimation Let The Right One In has just overtaken Gran Torino and Slumdog Millionaire as the best film of what is shaping up to be a good year for the cinema.  Like Pan’s Labyrinth, Let The Right One In is a European film with subtitles and therefore will not get the audience it deserves.

 

bookLet The Right One In or Låt den rätte komma in, to give it it’s original Swedish title is a vampire movie written by John Ajvide Lindqvist based on his own 2004 novel.  Set in the concrete jungle of Blackeberg, a suburb to Stockholm in the early 80’s (complete with dodgy cloths).  Eli (Lina Leandersson) is a vampire, she appears to be twelve years old but as she says she has been twelve for a long time.  She moves into the apartment next to Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) a meek and hapless 12-year-old boy who is being bullied by a group of his classmates.  As the film progresses Eli’s relationship develops with Oskar but we are never sure if she is looking for a friend, a companion/boyfriend, a minion or a meal.  The story develops along the lines you would expect with a few surprises including the fantastic and now famous/infamous swimming pool scene.  

 

oskThe grim and gritty feel give the film a sense of realism despite the supernatural subject matter.  The title (abbreviated to Let Me In, in some countries) refers to the aspect of the vampire myth that says a vampire can not cross a threshold without being invited.  Early vampire films used minions to let the vampires in where more recent films have dropped that part of the myth.  This film takes it a step further and shows what happens when a vampire comes in uninvited.  It isn’t pretty but it is effective!  The photography is very simple and effective using mainly fixed cameras and no noticeable steadicam instead opting for simple pan and dolly tracking very reminiscent of earlier film makers like John Ford and moving away from more recent frantic handheld camera work.  The lighting is moody and atmospheric and with the help of the stark snow covered landscapes gives an almost gothic aesthetic to suburbia.  Comparisons have been made to last years Twilight that uses vampire mythology in a teenage romance.  Let The Right One In is a far more edgy film that although not particularly violent or gory is brutal in places.  There is a certain amount of ambiguity of the androgynous young cast and the morals of their actions.  This may be a film about kids but it certainly isn’t a film for kids.   

 

hang1The US rights to the book have been sold and Cloverfield director Matt Reeves of is set to make the American version.  It won’t be as quick as Quarantine that was released in the UK about six months after the Spanish original [Rec] but expect the Americanised version soon.  It will however be a little different as they have gone back to the source and are adapting the book from scratch rather than remaking the film.  I don’t have high hopes for the Hollywood version but even if its good I would encourage any movie fan to go and see the original.  A modern classic that would have been a fitting end to my vampire article last month had I seen it a little sooner.

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