Saturday, May 23, 2009

Movie Review: Let the Right One In

This movie was reviewed by my friend dr. morbius not too long ago, and my interest was sufficiently piqued that I dropped into my Netflix queue right away. Last week it appeared in my Instant Viewing queue on Xbox Live. This morning (yesterday, now) before bed. I broke down and watched it. A review blurb on the cover proclaims it the "Best vampire movie ever." I like vampire movies, when they're done well. This one is.

The movie is Swedish, with English subtitles. Subtitles used to bother me, but I hardly notice them after a while. This is especially true when a movie grabs me like this one did.

Oskar is a preteen boy living in a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden in the early 1980s. His parents are separated, and he lives with his mother. He is bullied by his schoolmates, but he tries to make friends with Eli, the androgynous child who lives in the apartment next door. Oskar want Eli to be his girlfriend, but Eli says, "I'm not a girl."

By turns, the two become friends, after a fashion. Their relationship survives the revelation that Eli is a vampire. I'd love to tell the rest, but you'll just have to see it.

I thought the subtitles were a little choppy, but I wasn't sure if that was just the result of translation from Swedish. I've since found some criticism of the subtitling, and I guess you can add my voice. There's a lot of signage that could've used captioning. A big plot element is Oskar teaching Eli Morse code so they can "talk" through their common wall, and little of that is subtitled.

My research has turned up the info that the film is being remade for the American market. Like a lot of import remakes, it could either be brilliant, or horrible. When will American filmmakers learn to leave stuff alone?