Friday, March 13, 2009

Let the Right One In


Let the Right One In is a new and different take on the old vampire story. The newest part is that it's Swedish, and any DVD you'll see will have English subtitles. The different part is that the movie is all about 12-year-old kids.

Oskar is a tortured 12-year-old at school, tortured because there's a gang that beats up on him, ridicules him, makes him do things he doesn't want to do. And he doesn't fight back. One day, while taking his imaginary "revenge" on a tree in the snow near his apartment building, he meets a girl named Eli. Only this girl is different. She gets sick if she eats anything. She avoids direct sunlight. And she doesn't go to school. They form a close attachment, and it slowly dawns on him who Eli really is.

I watched the movie with very bad English dubbing, not a recommended way to see any movie. But at the core of this sometimes very gory movie is a sweet love story. I said it was different and it is. The kids -- usually ignored in vampire lore -- who play Oskar and Eli are really interesting; the camera loves their faces. And the little things that this story tells about vampires make this take on the old tale very intriguing. The title refers to the fact that, in vampire canon, a vampire cannot cross the threshold of your house if you do not express permission, or he or she (or it, actually) will suffer the consequences.

The negatives of the film are that some things are confusing. I have no idea why Eli had a man living with her, a man seemingly there to do her bidding. The screenplay doesn't explain a lot. But all the more time to get into Oskar's and Eli's relationships. Just get ready for the blood that will inevitably flow your way.

Thumb's up.

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2 Comments:

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Melinda said...

I don't think I'll like the blood flowing, but I can always turn my head! In fact, I have this NetFlix DVD at home now and look forward to seeing it, and I can still understand Swedish pretty good and I will watch it with subtitles. I'm always looking for good Swedish films and that's why I rented this one. Thanks for the informative review - after I watch it I'll let you know what I think. (You write excellent reviews by the way Linda!)

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger Melinda said...

I watched this film last week, in Swedish with sub-titles (and I could pretty much understand the Swedish too!) - excellent. Pretty darn gory. The camera loved the young Eli's eyes, so big and expressive.

Here's what I think the premise of the story is behind the scenes; Eli's older man in the film was once a young boy that she seduced into loving and caring for her years ago, but he is old and failing to provide the fresh blood she needs. (sometimes the camera shows the true age of Eli - an old woman...)

So Eli starts seducing this new young boy (I can't remember his name in the film!) and especially after the old man who was so devoted to her dies at her feet from her bite.

The young boy truly loves Eli, and after she rescues him from drowning by tearing up the boys trying to kill him, you see the boy on the train with a box containing Eli next to him... he has left home and decided to devote his life to protecting Eli... and one day, he will end up old and used up like the previous old man, and Eli will have to seduce another young boy...

Do you see what I mean? I think that is the back story... not fully explained, maybe I got it because I understand Swedish?

It was a bit too gory for me, but I've always been fascinated by vampire stories, so I give it 4 stars for it was really well done. The "back story" I wrote about above is what still haunts me after watching the film.

 

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