Let the Right One In

The Swedish director of this haunting vampire tale replies to news of an American remake in the works by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves and sci-fi producer JJ Abrams:

Remakes should be made of movies that aren’t very good, that gives you the chance to fix whatever has gone wrong. I’m very proud of my movie and think it’s great, but the Americans might be of an other opinion. The saddest thing for me would be to see that beautiful story made into something mainstream. I don’t like to whine, but of course – if you’d spent years on painting a picture, you’d hate to hear buzz about a copy even before your vernissage! 1

Last evening we saw Let the Right One In. It was a great, and yet somehow, an underwhelming experience for me. Perhaps my expectations were too high. It had all the elements that I want in a good movie: character, story, photography, yet something was still missing.

The photography tends to be mostly blues, greens, grays and the cool whites of fluorescent lighting. The framing is highly composed and stationary, with very, very (very) short depths of field. The architectural setting is decidedly modernist, buildings which are trendy by today’s standards, but in the early eighties were tinged with institutional/socialist qualities.

Despite how great it is, the photography isn’t what makes this film good. (Also, it is certainly not the typographical selection for the subtitles, which makes you work harder than you should to read the dialogue.) It is the story that does it. It is the complexity in its characters.

I failed to have a close connection to the cultural dimension of the film though and this is where I think a good film can be a great film to an audience. I felt foreign to it. I experienced the same thing when seeing Ringu, the Japanese predecessor to the American version, The Ring I liked the remake better. I’m curious to see if an American version of Let the RIght One In will do the same.

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