Thursday, February 7, 2013

Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson)


Hindered by an unrelenting flow of school works and an unexpected visit of a debilitating headache, my film viewing momentum, as compared to last month, was relatively slowed down, to say the least. But nonetheless, I was still able to muster enough strength to watch two films, and this one counts as the first. Of course, with "Let the Right One In" being about a gothic love story between a bullied pre-adolescent boy and an isolated vampire girl, jokes about how this film is 'a much better love story than "Twilight"' will surely enter the discourse, which is, by the way, increasingly becoming very irritating. 
In more ways than one, "Let the Right One In", a film that merely runs for no longer than two hours, has perhaps captured the essence of a bloodthirsty romance without much narrative stretching (recall the "Twilight" 'saga') and unneeded sparkles. Starring two completely unknown actors, the film, set in the frozen landscapes of Blackeberg (in Stockholm), is about a deeply unsettling yet strangely charming romance between two youngsters, the introvert Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and the enigmatic Eli (Lina Leandersson), and how it affects, in unpredictable and horrific ways, the seemingly sterile existence of those around them. 
With Tomas Alfredson being a filmmaker that prioritizes unnerving silence, motionlessness and deliberate yet tense pacing (which is also evident in his later film "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy") more than uncalled-for thrills and cheap cinematic trickeries, "Let the Right One In" was able to channel the story's highly supernatural premise with an infinitely more organic feel. With Alfredson being quite open about his nonchalant perspective towards the vampire mythos, he has completely removed the devilishly mythological aura that encapsulates the iconic vampire persona (only retaining the most basic ones, such as how the creature is easily burnt by sunlight, how they are quite immortal etc.) and instead overpowers it only with the very core essence of what motivates vampires to kill: their unquenchable thirst for blood. 
With only these vampiric elements intact, Tomas Alfredson, although still conscious of the legendary stature of the creature he is tackling, has unexpectedly created something "John Hughes-esque" in the process, which easily connects with the audience on an emotional and personal level despite the fact that the film is centered on the blood trails of a young vampire. Alas, "Let the Right One In", a film that balances out the drama, comedy and uneasy love found deep within the heart of pre-adolescent existence, is indeed a very affectionate coming-of-age drama. And amid the film's shocking displays of blood-drenched violence, the film's themes were still compelling enough to power through the film's surface horrors and tell what might be, in a relatively long while, the most weirdly endearing tale of young love there is and also realize one of the most visually and thematically provocative explorations of a perfect yet seemingly improbable romantic connection found at the unlikeliest of situations (the film, after all, is based on a novel). 
But if there ever was an aspect that I admire most about "Let the Right One In", then it is how it has managed to make a vampire as formidably scary as possible yet was also able to tread the possibility that, after all, those vampiric hearts that vampire hunters keep on stabbing may just be beating cold meats waiting to let the right warmth in. Regardless of their highly distorted outlook on man-woman relationships, perhaps the likes of Count Orlok can truly attest to that, and so can Eli, a blood-thirsty (not to mention immortal) young girl who may have just ironically found her salvation, purpose and emotional growth in a most mortal love.


No comments:

Post a Comment

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Ivan6655321's Schneider 1001 movies widget