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Let the Right One In

 

Let the Right one in

I’ll start by saying that this movie shows what a well-written movie can do when it comes to showing the stark contrast between the innocence of a child and the violence of a vampire all at the same time. John Ajvide Lindqvist, the screenplay writer and novelist of this film, followed his title’s advice when it came to the talent involved in this movie. The leads have a subtle charisma that grabs hold of your attention and draw you in much the way a vampire’s stare would do.

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a young boy who is the target of school bullies. He imagines himself taking aggressive action against these bullies when he’s alone, but lacks the confidence to enact these imagined scenarios in real life. The movie opens with him staring at a car which pulls up late at night and listening to the people moving into the apartment next to him as they cover the windows with posters and cardboard. The next night he stabs at a tree pretending to taunt his antagonists when he hears a noise behind him. A pale girl stands on a jungle gym watching. She warns him that she can’t be friends with him and leaves. However, this is not the case. Eventually, he learns that her name is Eli (Lina Leandersson) and a friendship begins to form.

From there first friendly interactions over a Rubiks Cube we are treated to a slow building of a relationship. One which I found to be the most genuinely romantic I’ve seen on film in quite some time. Their interactions are subtle and with few words, mush like most tormented 12 year olds would be. Eli is a vampire. She is totally aware of the beast inside her, or more specifically, that she is. Ultimately, the question lies in what will become of them? Is this friendship/relationship doomed even before it began?

The story is well written giving you enough so that you see where we are headed, but strategic enough to do so with little dialog and almost no foreshadowing. The focus is on the two leads as it should be and there is no scene that is wasted on trivialities.

The direction and editing by Tomas Alfredson is first-rate. Each scene flows into the next and strikes the perfect balance showing the way both Eli and Oskar live their lives. Eli has moments of both gentle and violent. The two are polar opposites yet they are able to mesh together seamlessly. It would have been easy for the audience not to identify with Eli because of her state of being, but this never happens. It is quite easy to connect with both of them and connect we do.

The casting is superb. Both leads carry the roles like seasoned pros. Lina Leandersson is especially well casted as she shows a maturity beyond her years, which fits with her vampirism. The rest of the cast from the older gentleman, Haken (played by Per Ragnar) to the few extras that show up once or twice are fantastic. One can only imagine that it was either meticulous casting process or they were extremely fortunate in finding those who they did. I think we can put our money on it being a little of both.

The score is also very maturely handled and timed. Each queue is quiet and adds to the scene. The haunting tunes both aide the conversations and fills in what there are no words to say. Hans Ek has provides a truly great score.

All that has been covered above shows how well the story is written. The review thus far has been about the characters and their journey. The movie does cover certain vampire standards. The effects are minimal which actually adds to Eli’s mystery, but doesn’t conceal what she is really capable of. Let the Right One In is also the only vampire movie that I’ve seen (and that’s a lot) which explains why classic vampires have to be invited into someone’s abode before they can enter.

This film won 55 awards and had another 11 nominations. Seeing that it is (as of 7/17/09) #206 in IMDB’s top 250 shows me that people actually do like good movies. To that, the only thing I can say is that I hope it spreads like a pandemic!

As I write this I’m watching it for the third (and a half) time. The movie still manages to draw me in even though at this point I know exactly what will happen and when. Recently released on Blu-ray I will be tracking it down as soon as I finish this. There was also a translation of the novel for English speakers, which I have just ordered. I’ll post a blurb about it as soon as I have finished reading it.

Images:

John Ajvide Lindqvist, Kåre Hedebrant, let the right one in, Lina Leandersson, review, swedish, Tomas Alfredson, bitter balcony John Ajvide Lindqvist, Kåre Hedebrant, let the right one in, Lina Leandersson, review, swedish, Tomas Alfredson, bitter balcony John Ajvide Lindqvist, Kåre Hedebrant, let the right one in, Lina Leandersson, review, swedish, Tomas Alfredson, bitter balcony John Ajvide Lindqvist, Kåre Hedebrant, let the right one in, Lina Leandersson, review, swedish, Tomas Alfredson, bitter balcony John Ajvide Lindqvist, Kåre Hedebrant, let the right one in, Lina Leandersson, review, swedish, Tomas Alfredson, bitter balcony
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Kåre Hedebrant, let the right one in, Lina Leandersson, review, swedish, Tomas Alfredson, bitter balcony

Trailer:

Credits:

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson

If you disagree (or agree) comment below. It should make for interesting conversation!





Source of the Bitter: JAS

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
Cinebelle on Mon, 07/20/2009 - 8:39am

Love this film--love the kids, and how the vamp angle is not played for camp value (you never even see fangs).

What really slays me is how great the movie is to overcome both bad English dubbed versions and bad English subtitled versions -- what the heck was going on in the studio that this film couldn't get the genuine and nuanced support it needed to grow its international audience? I'll watch it with the lame dubs but can't wait till they straighten out the subtitles.

I'm also a little nervous about a Hollywood remake. It'll all be about the 2 kids who star, I think. And sticking to the brilliant script.

(Has Sweden ever looked more menacing?)

JAS on Mon, 07/20/2009 - 8:46am

They need to get the kids from Spy Kids! You know, because they have such great talent. Especially the laughable curly haired one that thinks he knows martial arts because he's done two cheesy fight scenes on film.

Then just turn it into a comedy and you have classic Hollywood bait and switch!

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