Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Let the Right One In

This was the first movie we watched via Netflix streaming on Tim's XBox360.

First: this streaming thing is THE BOMB. OK. So it's only been one movie, but the experience of adding it on-line (the service *and* the movie) and seeing it show up on our TV in split seconds was amazing.

Second: the movie was awesome.

I found this movie on the recent release list on rottentomatoes.com. It sounded cool and then Mi-Mi and I watched the preview and I was hooked. Of course, this meant that Mi-Mi had to go somewhere else to watch. I do KNOW how my children react so I don't *make* them watch these movies.

This one looked really scary though and there was no way I was going to let her have nightmares watching this.

It turns out, however, that it isn't quite the scary movie, the way I think a scary movie should be.

Let the Right One In is a Swedish movie about the blossoming friendship between two 12 year olds, Oskar and Eli.

It is an ethereal story, although not quite heavenly.

The movie opens with a fatherly figure and a young girl (Eli) in a taxi cab, pulling up to an apartment building. They move in to the flat next door to Oskar.

Oskar is a bullied child. He lives alone with his mom and the bullies of his school constantly pick on him. He does nothing but mimic revenge when he's at home, alone in his room.

We then see Eli's father preparing equipment: washing and drying an oxygen-like mask, a jug, a funnel and a sharp knife. And we are then shown why: he awaits an innocent victim on a desolate path: a jogger passes, then a young man who then becomes his victim.

The young man is strung up high on a tree, as a hunter would do to his prize-winning stag, then ripped and drained of his blood. This ritual is interrupted by a wayward dog, who happens upon the father and his victim, with the dog's owner not far behind trying to call for her dog.

Father runs away and leaves his equipment, a jug of blood, behind. We then see Eli screaming at her dad. The tone is very authoritative. The dad is very subdued. It is an unusual interaction between daughter and dad. This becomes very meaningful at the end of the film.

So Oskar and Eli eventually meet in their courtyard and strike up an eerie friendship. Eli gets to know Oskar more and instructs him to fight back against the bullies. He does, causing a brutal wound to one of the bullies who will seek revenge, crying to his big brother, toward the end.

We know that Eli is a vampire. We never see her vampire teeth, but we do see her in action. She ends up having to do things herself after dad ends up getting caught again and then, falling to his death (after she drinks his blood). The scenes are not especially graphic in gore which I appreciate.

Showing graphic violence without the gore is an art that I think Hollywood could learn from... In one scene, Eli feigns helplessness to lure a grown, husky man to his death. She attacks, drinks, and then snaps his neck to kill him completely. All from a far-off camera, where we can see what is happening without any detail. BRAVO.

And Eli...Eli has a cute, 12 year old face. Well, after she has eaten. Otherwise, she has dark circles under her eyes, cracked lips, and a hallowed look that I think is amazing for the young actress who plays her. But the irony of this angelic face with blood smeared on her mouth is creepy.

But all good things must come to an end and Eli leaves a note with Oskar that she must leave or she will die.

But that is the end for Oskar and his love for Eli...until an amazing ending that I shall not reveal here. I spoiled enough of it, even trying to be vague. But this is one poetic, eerie, creepy, mesmerizing movie that, even after it was over, Tim said something explaining another bit, which made my heart skip two beats.

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