Sep 17, 2010

[Movies] Let The Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in (2008)

Let The Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in (2008)I'm generally a fan of foreign films - call that the gay movie snob in me or something. And I know, we shouldn't lump all non-US movies together as foreign since they're strong films in their own right covering a lot of different traditional movie genres.

Of all genres though, I'm pretty bad at horror / thriller movies (and I've discussed this on this blog before). My partner knows this despite the fact that he's majorly into horror movies and all things generally scary. It's an odd juxtoposition of interests but we've both promised to keep an open mind when it comes to things that we introduce to one another. He watches Star Trek with me. I watched The Descent with him. And so on.

But given all the geek raves I've heard about this movie, I definitely wanted to take the time to see it. Naturally Tobie acted as my big enabler and helped make this happen and made sure that his hand (or arm) was available in case things got too tense for me.

Let The Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in is the 2008 movie adaptation of the John Ajvide Lindqvist novel of the same name. This was one of those rarer cases when the author of the original story was also able to handle the screenplay of the movie, which probably contributed a great deal to the strength of the piece.

The movie begins with 12 year old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), your classic meek, introverted school boy who lives alone with his mother Yvonne (Karin Bergquist) in an apartment complex. He gets bullied at school regularly and he lacks the will or the physical ability to put up any semblance of resistance against them. But things change when an old man (Per Ragnar) and a young girl move into the unit next door.

Lina Leandersson, Swedish actress, November 2009Image via WikipediaOskar and the young girl, Eli (Lina Leandersson) eventually cross paths in the apartment's playground area. In the following days, the two become fast friends and spend more and more time together. Oskar shares things that he likes and Eli even agrees to even learn Morse code so they can send messages through the wall between their apartments. As Oskar starts to fall more and more in love with Eli events start to unfold as a series of mysterious murders in the area continue to escalate. And the only thing that has changed in the community recently is the arrival of Eli and her older companion.

The movie is eerily quiet for the most part, but in this case the silence definitely contributed something special to the overall impact of things. A typical Hollywood director would use music to build tension or to set whatever mood all throughout. Instead we got this largely still and chilling portrayal of events that leaves you mostly guessing what exactly is going on. And when things become fully revealed, well, the pay off is definitely worth it.

Major credits to the two young actors at the center of this movie. The requirements of the story needed them to act a lot more mature beyond their years. Plus some of the scenes were naturally unsettling and disturbing and they managed to go through things amazingly well. I've seen older professional actors totally ruin good character concepts with horrible acting. And yet these two did so much better and that gives another good reason to see this movie.

Naturally, I have to bring up the fact that there's a US remake of the movie coming a little further down the pipe and naturally there's a lot of fear about that. After finally seeing this stunning Swedish film, I can't quite imagine how well a US translation is going to go given the very different sensibilities in terms of how they put movies together.

But if you want more than just a quick fright but a rich and compelling story as well, then this is definitely an excellent movie for you. And it's best you see this before the remake comes out so you can get a better appreciation of what the US folks might be trying to achieve.

Let The Right One In / Låt den rätte komma is one of the best movies I've seen in a while - and I still don't want to spoil the big reveal at the end. It gets 4.5 mad-as-heck cats out of a possible 5.

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  1. Welcome to the dark side. LOL ... i'm so happy you liked the masterpiece. :D

  2. You never circled back around to horror. What did you think of the horror aspects of this film? Was Tobie's hand (or arm) necessary?

  3. The movie has beautiful tension filled moments. But never dipped its toes into shock horror like most horror films do nowadays.

    The movie utilized silence in such a beautiful manner, the horrific elements had a poetic beauty to them that disturbed yet.. engaged.