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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Let the Right One in (2008)

Let the Right One In (2008)  is the original film adaptation of the novel, Låt den rätte komma by  John Ajvide Lindqvisit. The movie is in its native Swedish language. The film was also made by Hammer Films in association with the Exclusive Media Group as Let Me In (2010). Thomas Afredson who directed the original Swedish version was asked to direct Hammer’s remake but he relented, saying he didn’t want to make the same film twice. And looking at this original version, it is no surprise that Hammer wanted to retain the director , as it turned out Matt Reeves did a great job with the English language version but we’ll talk about that movie in a later post.
For no we shall concentrate on the original Swedish movie, Let the Right One in.
“Are you really old?’ Oskar
I’m twelve but I’ve been twelve for a long time.” Eli
It’s a remarkable film adaptation from a truly original vampire novel. At it’s core it is a romance involving vampires, but all thoughts of Twlight should be put out of minds. Nothing so tedious and predictable here and the vampires in this movie, or vampire rather, is a brutal creature, though by need rather than choice. The film focuses on the darker side of humanity, dealing with issues such as existential anxiety, bullying, pedophilia and murder.

The greatest success of this film is in the casting of the two young leads. There is a maturity in their performance and their relationship on screen comes across as both natural and believable. Of course that it doesn’t turn silly when Oskar discovers his girlfriend is a vampire is another indication of the quality of the film on offer here.
“Are you a vampire?” Oskar
“I live on blood.” Eli
I recently read the original novel and found there were many aspects, if not removed from the script, then watered down. The paedophiliac relationship between Eli and her guardian is not as clearly defined as in the novel, but then this was likely a wise decision on the part of the film-makers. At first the viewer is unclear of the relationship between guardian and the young vamp, maybe even a paternal one is suggested, but as the films goes on we come to realise that the man may have been with the young vamp since he himself was a young boy. Is this the eventual fate for Oskar? Will the young boy himself grow into an old man while his beloved, Eli remains eternally twelve? Another difference is that the novel depicts Eli as an androgynous boy who was castrated centuries past by a fellow vampire, but the film presents the character as female. Though there is a scene where Oskar asks Eli to be his girlfriend and is answered, “I am not a girl.” Nevertheless if there is some suggestion here then it is very subtle and when I first saw this film, I had yet to read the novel, and did not pick on on this aspect of the story.
The DVD release from  Momentum contains an entertaining commentary between director Tomas Alfredson and author, John Vjvide Lindqvist which reveals the thinking behind each and every scene. There are also several deleted scenes and the original theatrical trailer.
A must see movie – an intelligent adult movie with will haunt the viewer – stunning.

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