Monday, 25 May 2009

Let The Right One In

This is a very brief review of a film which needs much greater analysis and praise.

The film is wonderful. As a girl who doesn't immediately warm to any film where the violent content is hyper-simulated and needlessly graphic, I was pleasantly surprised that a film billed as a 'Swedish Arthouse Horror' had a lot of Swedish content (yes its set in Sweden and filmed in Swedish but it can be dubbed if you really hate subtitles) was very artfully directed and only displayed the inevitable gore when necessary. If your favourite films are Saw i-v then you may find that this film's beautiful subtlety passes you by.

A quick introduction: Blond Swedish boy lives in flat. Boy is bullied. Boy meets swarthy-yet-pale girl who doesn't seem to go to school and only comes out at night. Story arc follows boy and girl story seamlessly unravelling who the girl really is and how this affects the development of a bond only capable by (seemingly) innocent pre-teen Swedes in 80's wintery Sweden.

I won't say anything more but the directing by Tomas Alfredson is so effortless, dialogue is unimportant as you watch the events in the small town unfold, as family and locals alike start to concern themselves with the relationship between the two leads.

The acting is flawless, particularly when the 'Making of' documentary shows that the young leads were handpicked from newcomers over a year's extensive search by Alfredson. The soundtrack (and often lack of it) is compelling and adds to a feeling of eerie unease, but you are never gripped with schlocky fear. To cap it all, the ending is brilliantly brutal.

The film continually asks 'what makes a person bad?' and plays with our conventional perceptions of good and evil. It all seems so quietly real.

Even if you don't like horror or foreign-language films, but you like a good story, you should see this movie (before the US remake comes out in 2010).

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