I’m not an aficionado of foreign film; I could scarcely be called anything but an occasional consumer of American movies, let alone any other film industry. However seldom it might be, some movies really grab my attention; lately, most of those films have one thread in common, some incorporation of minimalism.
Back when I still had access to satellite television (I have since lost most interest in television) there were a number of channels that I simply blocked, because of the overbearing, almost swollen-pregnancy of content. Not that shows each hour are bad, but the similarities to Idiocracy displayed in oppressively quixotic content splashed by Comedy Central and G4 can hardly be ignored. At the time I didn’t understand why it was distasteful, though now I think it is because such content-packing, blasting in-your-face pressure reduces the creative engagement of the mind. Fahrenheit 451, anybody? What Bradbury thought had to be undertaken by force of government turns out to be very heartily embraced by a significant portion of our culture; people who are willing to trade no-effort titillation for any semblance of an matured thought process.
Many others have noticed it; the endless CG race, the decline of unique plots, an absolute vacancy of any meaningful lines in trailers, frustrating dialogue written for the lowest common denominator, ever-present soundtracks arranged to fulfill the squirming and restless, childlike inability to focus… the list could continue on for ages, and has long surpassed the attention span of the average Comedy Central viewer. I maintain that it’s not truly a need within the people who avail themselves of such total subservience to content to the point where they have abdicated their mental faculty. The availability of such means of abdication is merely a more pleasant option to some; it reflects a desired to remain childlike in the mythology of imagination, without all the additional creative effort that being an adult foists upon such the mind. It’s like joining Peter Pan in Neverland, but rather than flying, preferring to sit and watch others fly. I prefer to put the effort in, fly on my own some of the time and then be an adult the rest of the time (sort of). Hey, at least I can survive without television!
Let the Right One In is a Swedish film and don’t run for the door just yet! It avoids all of the modern movie methods of cramming information into people’s heads and makes do with proper film form, putting ideas before people’s eyes, thus engaging the mind to do as it ought, and consider things.
Yes, it’s in subtitles (unless you speak Swedish), but there is a rather minimal amount of dialogue, easing the task of the subtitle reading. Anyhow, I prefer subtitles rather than those films which put people in places where they’d never consider speaking English and then give them a mediocre British accent to boot. As it is, this film is a very visual experience, providing very little soundtrack to mar or unnecessarily guide the emotions of the imagery. And what imagery is offered is layered with fantastic acting, even by the film’s two twelve-year-old main characters.
None of the scenes indulge in a crooked-eyebrow attempt to overplay drama thus offering a strong poignancy to the scenes which actually succeed in conveying an emotional message. You cannot have strong darkness without the light, or so said Bob Ross. As well, the violence in the film was emphasized by its scarcity, a tact which is rarely employed properly in Hollywood product.
Rather than correct those broken trends, American film has largely taken to parodying itself, even unintentionally, and it is for this reason that I felt Let the Right One In was so refreshing. It simply offered an interesting story and gave the viewer plenty of time to think about each of the various plot points, providing reasonably beautiful images to see in the meantime.
Finally, the end of the film left the viewer with an anguished hope, altogether a perfect ending that lets the viewer give more thought to the film over the following days, hence this review.
Now, I have intentionally avoided discussing the actual plot because this film is one that I insist must be discovered all the way through, and thus any revelation may harm the experience. But then, who puts a film in the player without first knowing a single thing about it? Other than myself, of course. Reading the synopsis will give you the idea, if you simply cannot take my word for it. Maybe it should be enough to say that it’s the first vampire film that has ever actually entertained me with every moment (and I say that being very fond of any scene where Kate Beckinsale wears tight-fitting leather. Like I said, an adult… sort of).