14 Feb 2011

Let The Right One In - Tomas Alfredson - Film

Okay, so I've read the book, now to watch the film right?  Before I begin I'd like to say how irritated I was at Hollywood's remake entitled 'Let Me In'.  I haven't seen it and I don't ever intend to - why remake a perfectly good film?

Anyhoo, this film is quite simply, beautiful.  From the start with it's falling snow and gentle but chilling music, to the end with the sinister image of a child on a train to nowhere with a very large box at his feet.  Very slow moving and very delicate and a great testament to the book.

Of course there is nowhere near as much detail as in the book, and a lot of the gruesome scenes have been left out.  I think this was the right decision, including the scene where the undead Hakan attacks Eli would have ruined the mature tone the film carried and been an unnecessary addition - especially since there is no focus on the personal life of Hakan as there is in the book.  

I have to admit I was a little dissappointed that there was not more focus on the relationship between Locke and Virginia.  I really enjoyed reading about their doomed love affair in the book.  But I think the film included just enough to justify Locke's anger and determination in going to find and kill Eli after Virginia's tragic (and excellent - I was impressed with the special effects) death.

It was so subtle and my favourite scene by far is towards the end.  All you can see is Oskar holding his breath under water hopelessly, there is barely any sound and no music - giving the effect of the viewer being underwater with Oskar.  You then see ripples caused by limbs being dragged across the surface of the water, and the arm holding Oskar beneath the surface is suddenly no longer attached to its owner and he can come up for air.

I'm not entirely sure the scene would have the same effect for someone who had not read the book, but for me, it was perfect.  Slow, serene and triumphant - I really felt happy for Oskar that he believed his 'friend' Eli had come back to save him.

Unfortunately, I think you need to read the book in order to appreciate this film.  If you have not read it a lot of the time it might just seem like two kids standing around looking serious.  In addition if you have not read the book you won't quite understand the 'deep and meaningful' looks that are often exchanged between Eli and Hakan.  But I did read the book, and consequently I loved the film.

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