There are times in life, when I cross paths a with a film so fresh, the beats of my heart are stabbed with every passing minute the film roles on... and every second is relished and appreciated. This film applies to just that in the category of instant love and admiration.
Let The Right One In was terrific, stupendous, unique and ingenues. It was everything I've never quite seen on film before. In order of importance, the movie was:
- A story of romance, discovery and the expulsion of grim loneliness.
- With two twelve year olds at the center. One of them happening to be a vampire who needs to feed.
2008 was real good year for film. The Dark Knight, Iron Man, The Wrestler, Ben Button, Watchmen, Pineapple Express, Cloverfield, Indiana Jones, Milk, Doubt, The Reader and many others I found were exemplary. This film sadly was not considered for Best Foreign Film due to the mixed up released dates of the film, and Sweden not allowing the film to be considered for two separate years of eligibility in the Academy. Be that as it may, this film has all the workings of what and why people fall in love with movies in the first place. Period.
1982, Sweden. Oskar is a lonely 12 year old boy, living in the sketchy, dreary and darker then dark at night apartment complex. He's bullied on the reg by three medium size douche's who have no real reason to pick on him, other than the fact that he lets them. He lives with his mother who shows no real concern for him other than the harsh weather (snow covers the film's landscape in virtually every outside scene and makes for beautiful cinematography) and his father tries to keep in touch with him from his cottage. He keeps a scrap book full of newspaper clippings of murder cases. He also wields a small dagger complete with leather sheath. He practices his stabbing moves, in his room, and outside on a tree. Which is where he first meet the eleusive and mysterious Eli. She has moved in next door with her "father". Over time they initially form a bond and become the best of friends. Both providing an escape from the lives they don't necessarily hold dear. Friends. Lovers (not like that). Confidants.
Eli herself, is secretive and impolite at first, telling Oskar they cannot become friends. Slowly revealing herself by accident at times, the blood lust pumps through her the entire film. Lina Leandersson was a mere 11 years old when she applied through the online casting service and then eventually received the role through screen test. Please allow me to reiterate, 11 years old is one thing, but age is NO FACTOR in determining how good you are as a actor. Anyone in this industry worth their salt can tell you that. And both actor's have proved to me, yet again, being a kid and pretending for the sake of pure fun, makes all the difference compared to "working hard" on your film. People have already compared Kåre Hedebrant's performance in this film to the caliber of Haley Joel Osment. And rightfully so, this kid put forth no effort in creating the scared, scarred, lonely and "I have love to give" boy in the bleak apt. complex.
Adapted by the author himself, John Ajvide Lindqvist, he and the director both found themselves in the right creative light about how to work the novel. turns out, this author wasn't comfortable with just anyone adapting the novel. When the producer, John Nordling called, he wasn't the first. Idk if 48th is the real spot he arrived at, but he most certainly in line. He eventually called Linqvist himself and they both agreed they had the same vision about the script-to-screen adaptation.
These two kids eventually form a love for one another so strong and alive, that it makes you feel like if you had what they did, no matter how much you're life sucks balls, everything is still okay and you win every second of the day because you share that kind of love with the other one. I want that (nearly had it), and you will too if you see this film. And this is the area that Lina, Kåre, Lindqvist and director Tomas Alfreson succeed in the most. Splicing the chemicals of romance, children and vampirsm in the beaker and creating a beauty unlike anything I've seen before. (Albeit, I haven't sen every film know to man, so cut me some slack). Lina, crafts a a vampire with real history and worn tread on her tires. A conversation between Eli and Oskar going as follows:
"Aren't you cold?"Now we're getting somewhere.
"I guess... I've forgot how..."
I always say, as an actor, there's one line of dialogue that defines who you're playing. That was her's. This may be a little girl, but make no mistake--she's a very fucking old vampire. So dreary, and bored with her life, tired and almost aggravated. Without any cares or real concerns besides not getting caught, she doesn't even try to hide it much anymore. Walking bare foot in the snow with only a blouse (or her 66 year old "familiar" guardian's dress shirt, take your pick) and paper thin pants. A dead soul. That is... until we see the first hint of a mere smirk she get's from Oskar, and then eventually the sparks fly and it's open sesame heart lights. She gives us a vamp, not with snarling (though believe me the girl can snarl), or a evil smile. Not with extreme outer beauty or cliched ultra-human abilities. She gives us bleak, meager, smelly (of corpses and blood). We get sometimes calm affection, and at times heart bursting. And of course, when she needs to, deadly not-to-be-fucked-with vampire moves. From her, she also teaches us--with much blood flowing from her as consequence--of why vampires need invitations (long forgotten in vamp lore).
"I said... that we shouldn't remake it. I read the book too and was completely taken with it and I was really intrigued how personal the story felt. I thought John Lindqvist had written this terrific story, and he also adapted it for the film...I wrote Lindqvist and told him that it wasn't just that I was drawn to the story because it was a brilliant genre story – which it is – but also because of the personal aspect of it. It really reminds me of my childhood. I can understand because of people's love of the [original] film that there's this cynicism that I'll come in and trash it, when in fact I have nothing but respect for the film. I'm so drawn to it for personal and not mercenary reasons ... I hope people give us a chance."Let's see what Reeves can do when he's not pitting pre-thirty somethings against a giant monster.
My final note to you: I dare you to watch this film alone at night with the lights off, and not call your significant other after it's over, asking to come over just to snuggle and smooch. You might never know how romantic the word "kiss" in Morse Code can be, until you see two kids tapping it out with their fingertips on a speeding train. This transcends the celluloid it's on and personifies pure romance, fear and hope right before your eyes.
Which is why this film easily made 4 out of 4 'Nanas.
Now stop reading this and go see it.