25 May 2011

it’s okay to let this one in

When I commented last year on the movie that Let Me In is based on, the Swedish Let the Right One In, I finished with this:  “I heard a nasty rumor of this gem being redone for the American audience.  I fear that the intelligence and charm will be drained from it, just as surely as Eli drains her ill-fated quarry.”  My fear was only partly justified.  It is true that Eli (Abby in the remake) has exchanged some charm for some genuine ferocity.  Hammer Films is involved, after all!  Still, there remains the innocence(!) of young love. 

Kodi Smit-McPhee (as Owen, instead of Oskar) and Chloë Grace Moretz, who has been “twelve for a very long time,” are excellent in their starring roles.  For me, the deviations from the Swedish film maintain the story’s intelligence—and wit.  Ronald Reagan, speaking about good and evil in 1980s America, provides a recurring backdrop.  The consumer culture is a key player, as well.  As Owen eats his favorite candy, Now and Later, he sings the jingle, “Eat some now.  Save some for later.” 

As a music fan, I really appreciate its use in the movie.  When the two are playing Ms. Pac-Man at a convenience store, we can hear Culture Club on the PA system, with Boy George crying, “Do you really want to hurt me?”  Abby, the vampire, has the power.  But as she watches Owen playing the video game, it’s clear that that would be a mutual question. 

After Owen has discovered Abby’s true nature, there’s no more room for secrets.  It’s back to being the only preteens who can identify with the Greg Kihn Band as they sing, “We’d been living together for a million years.” 

There are other well-chosen songs, like David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese.”  But my favorite one accompanies the scene in which Abby’s “father” (Richard Jenkins) attacks a student after being discovered in a car.  The car crashes, and he pours acid on his face, to avoid being identified.  The song is Blue Oyster Cult’s “Burnin’ for You.”  (A bit of grim humor, to be sure.)  Maybe the fact that it was BOC’s song that I really liked when it was first released has something to do with it! 

This movie stands alone, regardless of the excellent Swedish original, as one of the best vampire movies ever.  Let this one in.

1 comment:

SEO Agency India said...

Fantastic this movie and great story. really amazing this post and interesting details share in the post. thanks