Monday, February 28, 2011

Let the Right One In

I'm fairly certain I've talked about either the film or the book before, but I had the random urge to talk about them again.  Let the Right One In (both book and film) is among my favorites.  I'm not sure how I came across it, but I read the book last summer.  Unused to the style of translated/foreign novels, it took me a while to read.  That said, a "while" for me, book-wise, is typically a week to a week and a half - I love to read and once I get into a book, I immerse myself in it until I've finished the book (at the latest) on the second day of reading.  I've always enjoyed reading since I was a kid, and I never understood other kids' aversion to books.  I still don't.  There are books out there for everyone - all sorts of genres appealing to all sorts of tastes! It's like ice cream - there are all sorts of wonderful flavors that you get to try, but you always have a favorite.  For me, my go-to genre is fiction.  Very broad, I know, but there are all sorts of lovely fiction books!  As a fourth/fifth grader, I was enamored with the Dragonlance series (yes, one of those never-ending fantasy series - don't judge me), among others.  In middle school, it was Garth Nix (primarily his Old Kingdom/Abhorsen trilogy, but his other stories are similarly enticing).  In regards to high school, I'm ashamed to admit that the Twilight series was among my favorites.  But I also first read Harry Potter in high school which I readily admit is infinite times better than Twilight, and I hope that somehow redeems me.  Now, in University, I sadly don't have too much time for reading.  But I absolutely adore The Hunger Games trilogy, and a number of other random fiction books.  I suppose fiction appeals to the escapist in me.  I am unashamed to admit that I am an escapist and while some psychologists see it as a bad thing, I find that it's a much safer/better escape than say, smoking.  But I digress.  

The original point of this post was to talk about my never-ending love for John Avjinde Lindqvist's story about a lonely vampire-child who meets a lonely human-child and form a strange, yet powerful friendship.  Both the film and the novel are wonderful, but I haven't read the novel since last summer and my memory is very poor, so I won't talk about that as much. Although, the style was very different from the fast-paced English texts I am so used to.  Let the Right One In was written in a very slow manner, introducing characters and back-stories that seem completely irrelevant until the point that they suddenly become, well, relevant.  The book is not rushed, and I like it all the better for it.  The film holds that same quality (although a tiny bit more fast-paced considering it is condensed) - it is not rushed, and holds a subtle sort of quiet beauty about it.  There are few digitally altered scenes, no flashiness, no explosions, and no gun fights.  The little violence it has is not overly gory, and is not so stylized as to be unrealistic.  For a "horror" film, it is really beautiful.  I disagree completely with the genre it's been given, but I'll get to that later.  There are no cheap scares or typical Scary-Movie-Music.  The music is actually really nice, and there are some similarly pretty shots of frozen Sweden.  Regarding the genre, I've seen it listed as "horror" and "vampire" but I really don't agree with those.  While yes, some of the subject matter is horrifying and yes, there are vampires - they don't really sum up the movie as a whole.  I would consider it to be something of a platonic love story? Does that make sense, Let the Right One In fans? Regardless of the genre, this is such a beautiful film with a great story.  Be warned though, the novel is much more... explicit than the film, and is subsequently more disturbing.  I still suggest it, though!  Don't be turned off by that, I advise you read it for yourself and gauge what you think by your own reading experience.  Best way to do it, I find. 

I think it's hard not to like, at least by the end of the novel/film, the two main characters, Eli and Oskar.  Yes, Eli is a killer.  Yes, Oskar wishes/d he was a killer.  But they're really just two young, lonely souls who've been victims to those stronger or more powerful than they.  They find this beautiful solace and friendship in each other (I know I've been using "beautiful" way too much, but it's fitting).  They are safe in one another, moreso than they've possibly been in their entire lives.  The innocent relationship they share is so touching, and so innocent - it seems like the one pure, good thing in the story.  

Ah, this post has been all over the place, I apologize.  When I'm really passionate/excited about something, I become thoroughly unorganized and I end up with jumbled rants.  But I really hope you do watch the film/read the book and come to enjoy it, as well.  Oh, I've forgotten to mention, if you do watch it (which you should!), make sure to watch in theatrical release subtitles.  Dubs are always stupid, and the original DVD-release subtitles are similarly so.  I know Target sells the theatrical-release subtitled DVD for $10!  And I'm sure it's available on Netflix or something, though I'm not sure about the subtitles.
Also, weird and somewhat irrelevant fact: my friends seriously think I look like Eli.  It's pretty hilarious. 

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