Monday, 6 December 2010

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Let Me In [Review]


Opinion: B+

Religious remake of the Swedish sensation "Let The Right One In" follows the original so closely that it is more likely for mainstream english speaking audience who is new to the story. A couple of minor notches below the standard set by the original, nevertheless this will be a new (and much better) genre rendition to try out for those who thought The Twilight Saga is the only romantic vampire genre around.


Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit Girl in Kick-Ass) stars as Abby, a mysterious 12-year old who moves next door to Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road), a social outcast who is viciously bullied at school. In his loneliness, Owen forms a profound bond with his new neighbour, but he can't help noticing that Abby is like no one he has ever met before. As a string of grisly murders grips his wintry New Mexico town, Owen has to confront the reality that this seemingly innocent girl is actually a savage vampire. Based on the best-selling Swedish novel Låt Den Rätte Komma In (Let The Right One In) by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and the highly acclaimed film of the same name by Tomas Alfredson.

Director Matt Reeves has paid faithful homage to Tomas Alfredson's version not because he had a lack of creativity, but simply because this remake is meant to reach out to a wider audience who've yet to see it in order to spread the love. Hopefully with an english speaking cast and language, it will be widely appreciated by more people with the mass distribution of the film.

That said, we shouldn't really criticise Reeves' take for the homage effort.

Given a choice, I believe the film-makers will want to produce unique works of their own. While the fans of the Swedish original may be ranting on how the US version is trying to regurgitate and ruin the reputation that the original upheld with somewhat less subtlety and slightly commercialised elements, we need to remember that they are experiencing these sentiments because they've already seen the original.

What first time audience will need is a fair and just objective opinion of the film instead of negatively-charged subjectivity.

Following the success of the original, the film tackles the disturbing issue of the state of our younger ones in the society who are facing danger when left alone without care. Broken families and adult neglect often lead to these youth finding no one to go to for resolving woes. Under repression without guidance, some begin to harbour twisted intentions and often end up sporting vicious violence as Owen is seen wielding a kitchen knife in front of his dressing mirror mimicking demeaning taunts of his school bullies.

"Are you scared, little girl?"

Owen suffers from severe bullying by three boys in his school, which is escalated to a heavier dosage than the original to stir more raging sentiments within the audience. Reeves also offers a great opening that works to get the audience unsettled with an urgent ambulance scene and a nerve-teasing hospital ward flashback. Just for these, I tend to feel that more is more as it induces a higher level of emotions.

Otherwise, less should be more as in the original.

Music and sound are a tad bit overly handled as the upbeat nature of the audio reduces the subtlety feel that is a trademark of the original. Visuals also took on a punchier style with more blatant blood attacks achieved via CG animation. With these, it allows the remake to feel brisker in pace to get the heart pumping a little.

Chilling subtle horror amidst warm tender love.

Owen is a 12 year old boy who is left alone by the adults in his life, his mother is an alcoholic Catholic settling a divorce with his father while the teachers in school often do not go beyond their line of duty and mind their own business outside academic syllabus. With such, he is often spotted sitting in the playground within his residential courtyard silently singing peculiar tunes that go:

"Eat some now, save some for later"

Abby is a blood thirsty "thing" who has been 12 years old for ages, it is also unsure if Abby is a boy as highlighted in the original that has been left out in this remake. Abby also verbally repeats in the film that she is not a girl. In the novel, there's a brief flash-back mention of the possibility of Abby being a boy who's been castrated by a vampire a long time ago. Since Reeves' version has chosen to leave the question of Abby's gender out to keep affairs simple by implying instead that she is not a girl (not human) but a vampire, let's not dwell astray.

Moretz and Smit-McPhee's performance has been wonderful in this film, not to forget Richard Jenkins' great role rendition as Abby's "guardian" who stumbles every time he hunts for blood to feed Abby. His position as an elderly guardian will be challenged during the later part of the film to instill a surprising and satisfying twist to those who're unfamiliar with the story (so no spoilers).

An artful portrayal of a chilling romance story between a vampire and a mortal boy, this brings the new genre that used to be dominated by Edward and Bella to a whole new level. That said, you'll not want to miss the Swedish original after watching this remake.

Maybe it is a better routine to watch the remake and then the original.


5 comments:

  1. Looks like a suspense movie..

    Btw, have you watched the Hurt Locker?

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  2. This is a pretty different vampire flick if you haven't watch the Swedish original, give it a try Jemsen! =)

    Yes, I've watched The Hurt Locker. I was rooting for it last year during every single award it was nominated for, I love it!

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  3. I liked the original a lot, although I didn't find it 'near-perfect' as everybody else did. I expect and above average American remake. It wasn't released on big screen here, so I'll have to wait for the DVD.

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  4. @J-SON, I just found out that u can watched it at tonton.com.my visit my blog post about the review..

    http://snowflakes-88.blogspot.com/2010/12/review-of-hurt-locker.html

    but fro me.. I think AVATAR is better than Hurt Locker.. fro me.. :P

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  5. @Nebular It's a more mainstream version of the original, with punchier elements so it feels tighter. Yes you should definitely try it and see which is better!

    @JEMSEN Yes, you're perfectly alright to have your preference, just like everybody. AVATAR is a great film in my opinion too, it's just that I feel the shooting of The Hurt Locker was a great effort since it was shot in Jordan.

    I think I did a post on The Hurt Locker, if not I'll post it in time. Thanks! =)

    ReplyDelete

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