johnlink ranks LATDEN RATTE KOMMA IN (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN; 2008)

I actually thought I might save this for the end of the month as a transition into November which is I’ve planned as my foreign film month (this theme thing might be getting out of control). But, as I told John after I saw this last night, I’m glad I did not go another day without seeing this new Swedish masterpiece.

This is the story of the strange relationship between a little girl and a little boy in Sweden.

I watched ‘LAT DEN RATTE KOMMA IN‘ or, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008) at movie night on 10.1.09. It was my first viewing of the film. SPOILERS ABOUND BELOW.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

Several things to address here. I have many issues with American cinema, in general, today. I’m not one of these guys who blasts American films in an effort to promote foreign cinema. Hell, this was the first foreign film I watched this year unless you count (and I don’t) SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. But some of the problems American films face comes out of the fact that they have been influenced by blockbusters. Things have to happen fast, everyone must be glamorous, and if not it must be in an effort to show how un-glamorous they can be. And, most of all, everything must be fully explained lest the dumbest member of the audience be left in the cold. Now, obviously, this generalization can be hacked to shit and does not apply to every stateside film. But I do contend that it is a trend we are snowballing towards more and more.

Then we have LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. There are dozens of beautiful exterior shots of Sweden which would be left on the cutting room floor of Hollywood. We linger on two trees standing silently in the cold snow, or beautifully constructed shots of a stairwell leading up towards a lit street. Every shot here is meticulously crafted, ensuring the strongest visual effect. This film would have necessarily been (and the remake probably will be) 15 minutes shorter in the states.

Thematically, we are left to question why and how some things happen. Eli’s father-figure may not be a father. Oskar’s parents may not have divorced for traditional reasons. How did Eli become a vampire, and how long has she been one? These questions are ones the viewer asks, and the feeling after watching this film is one of exploration. Any film which leaves you talking about it for an hour after, and thinking about it for days (well, a day so far in my case) has done its job. Easily one of the very best films I have seen this year, and I am amazed it did not win the Oscar last year for foreign film. SCORE: 10

MOVIE

The methodical editing does not always make this the most exciting non-stop film, but that is certainly okay and the film is never boring. The suspense is secondary to the characterization, so when big things do happen we are excited to see them. I like the feeling of wanting more much better than the feeling that I have been watching the same thing over and over again. SCORE: 7

ACTING

The performance of the two kids, as played by Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, constitute some of the very best child acting I have ever seen, period. To fully appreciate the job done by Leandersson, who plays the vampire girl Eli, one must consider the actual age of the character she is playing and how a girl who was twelve at the time of filming can effectively demonstrate that she is actually much older. Her performance is remarkable. The only reason this film does not generate a perfect score here is that the acting of some of the local townspeople felt wooden at times. The role of Virginia, particularly, was ineffective. SCORE: 9

WRITING

The questions I mentioned in the FILM section apply here. The script is cute at times and brutal at others. It asks us to consider the circumstances of these characters and see past concepts of ‘good’ or ‘evil’. In fact, how you view Eli depends entirely upon this question: what will come of Oskar? If the character of Eli was played by a person as old as the vampire, would we not consider her a villain in many senses? Sure she saves him in the pool, but what does his life become afterward? In five years? Fifteen? These questions help us to understand why the old man brought the acid with him beyond just disfiguring himself for her sake.

This film was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and it is based on his novel. It is exceptional throughout. The one moment in the film which felt forced was when Virginia got attacked by the cats. And it is certainly not the screenwriter’s fault that CGI could not properly convey this moment. SCORE: 10

BONUS

The cinematography utilized in this film is of the highest order. It is inspired work which truly pays attention to the largest scale and the smallest detail (not to mention the number of shots which have at least a small touch of red, always a fun addition to a vampire film). SCORE: 1

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 10; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 9; WRITING: 10; BONUS: 1

10+7+9+10+1=37

FINAL SCORE: 9.25

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~ by johnlink00 on October 2, 2009.

One Response to “johnlink ranks LATDEN RATTE KOMMA IN (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN; 2008)”

  1. […] on 7.16.12. It was my first viewing of the film. My write up on the Swedish film can be found here, though it uses this site’s old ranking format for creating an article. Share […]

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