Friday, April 3, 2009

Let the Right One In

Based on a novel written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, this vampire movie combines romance and gore. Although many people may have mixed feelings for Let the Right One In, it remains a very average film that you watch out of curiosity. Personally, I didn't like the film that much, but the film sure has a few qualities despite its irksomely slow pace. Notice that I can't guarantee you that the film will entertain you.

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a twelve years old boy, is lonely, bullied at school and fascinated by violence (he wants to get revenge against his bullies). One day his total isolation, so to speak, is shattered when he meets a girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson), his next-door neighbour. However, as time goes by, Oskar learns that Eli is a vampire and wonders if he can still go on with this relation.

Wait. I've seen this movie before and it's called La peau blanche (White Skin). The difference is that it involves adults in their twenties!

To be honest with you, the film really bore me to death almost as much as the Korean film Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (which I never bothered to review) because of its slow pace and numerous frozen scenes (the characters don't talk or take too much time to reply). However, I'm sure that Let the Right One In will be able to find its audience. In fact, I have to admit that it's rare to see vampire films with characters that are nonetheless fascinating to analyze because of the ambiguous script opened for all sorts of interpretation. Of course, you can't expect some kids to deliver a rich performance, but despite the coldness in the performance, the two leading actors do a fairly good job.

Of course, those didn't find the film boring would say that Let the Right One In beautifully explores people's relation with (and fascination for) violence. This can be seen through: 1) Oskar's desire to kick his bullies' ass, 2) Hakan's (who poses as Eli's father) trying to kill people so that Eli never has to do it or 3) Eli's readiness to kill people in order to feed herself. Therefore, how can someone normal as Oskar loves someone who is, by nature, "violent" like Eli? Of course, as the film ambiguously or explicitly shows us, both Oskar and Eli find something in their platonic love relation. For instance, Eli sees in Oskar a friend and, to a another extent, a protector against "normal" people who might be looking to kill her. As for Oskar, he finds company in Eli and he also regards her as a protector against his bullies.

Shot with an excellent cinematography and (unfortunately) a slow pace reminiscent of Wong Kar-Wai (In the Mood for Love), Let the Right One In will certainly find an audience for itself. Some will see in it a good film about standing tall. If you may see more in this film, you may also say to yourself that Let the Right One In, with its ambiguousness, is a film that shows how love can sometime be a mirage in a desert, which means that some people may see what they want to see in their loved one.

Rating: 3.5/5

Let the Right One In
Origin:Sweden (2008)
Length:115 minutes
Genre:Horror drama
Screenplay:John Ajvide Lindqvist
Director:Tomas Alfredson
Starring:Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar and Patrik Rydmark

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