Hey folks, Harry here... I'm broken hearted. You see, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is my pick for best film of the year - and yet... because its country of origin didn't offer it up as the film representing its country, it will not even be considered for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM, which at the very least... it is. This is why that award in the Academy Awards is broken. When you depend upon a host nation to offer up a film for consideration for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM, you are forced to consider only the films that the nation in question feels artistically represent their country. As a result, films critical of their current country's policies and politics - won't be offered up. A film in a genre that is, perhaps, not a genre that the host country deems as being "proper" - goes unappreciated. At the very least the Academy needs to expand the nominating field to the films released domestically in the United States under the same rules as the rest of the English Speaking films. It is fair, it allows for the truly BEST films to even be considered. However, to have a film that has won the acclaim that LET THE RIGHT ONE IN has, and have that film go completely ignored for even the nominating process... frankly, it is unjust and beneath the standard that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences purports to endorse. It is, of course, too late to do anything this year, but the governing board should seriously look at changing and reexamining the rules for this category. Meanwhile, more of you need to seek out and experience the brilliance of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, like this fellow... who was profoundly taken with the film.
If you should run this, you can call me Chance Gardener. I like to watch. I seldom write online reviews of films, though I love movies and see a lot of them. I regularly read your site, and consider it my frontline link to fresh news about films. I'm a full time freelance Disney artist/writer, and am fairly discriminating when it comes to story. The last film that really knocked my socks to the degree that the the subject of this review does was Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings"...so this movie is really something special to me. It's a little film. It lacks the huge budget of LOTR and is directed by some guy I never heard of in Sweden with two first time twelve year olds in the lead. But you know what? "Let the Right One In" is an instant classic; one of those rare masterpieces that come out of nowhere, and is going to be remembered, I think, as one of, if not the very best, vampire movies of all time. This is a seriously great film, not only in the horror genre, but compared to any movie. This is the story of 12 year old bullied Oskar, who is angelically blonde and fair, and his newly moved in friend, Eli, who is raven haired, dark and mysterious. These two tweens are kindred spirits. Oskar is very alone, with no friends. He is brutalized daily in school, his parents separated with problems that leave him quite without any meaningful relationships. He acts out getting revenge on his tormentors with a knife, but at the same time we see he is intelligent and very, very sensitive. Eli has problems of her own. She has the confidence that Oskar lacks, but is even more desperate than poor Oskar for human understanding and companionship. See, as Eli says in understated fashion, she has been 12 for "a long time". This film is unique. It offers the viewer about as wide a breadth of feelings, of questions on the human condition, as any film in recent memory. It does this with a touching, fragile and quite beautiful relationship between this hurt boy and this achingly lonely ageless girl. The scenes between these two offered to this viewer the finest portrayal of the angst of growing up ever seen on the big screen. These haunting and sad scenes are set between horrorific moments of mayhem and bloodshed. The resulting impact on the viewer is a mix of emotions. We find ourselves rooting for the protagonists, even if one of the them is a monster, and we are chilled even as we are sucked into their believable and poignant relationship. This is a seriously difficult film. I have not found myself pondering so many difficult and various conundrums, the likes of which this frankly brilliant film tasks me with, in a very long while. In a world where awards programs aren't reliant on Hollywood glitz and big name actors, this movie could...actually, deserves, to win a many, many top awards. The cinematography is isolated, geometric and stark. The shots are beautifully worked out, and often the more "action" oriented pieces are shot in ways surprising and original. The CGI work is especially clever, subtle and unsettling, with the lead character, Eli's eyes sometimes seeming larger than they should, and her movements seem sometimes unearthly. The sound work for Eli is among the finest horror work I've ever witnessed, with brilliant cat like stomach weirdness when the little girl is unfed. She is almost a muttering vampire-Popeye of Fleischer Studio's fame....with her underpinning of subtle growls, teeth grinding, smacking and general understated otherworldly noises escaping her left me afraid and breathless. One has to give huge credit to Swedish director Tomas Alfredson for his brilliant handling of this material. The snow and ice laden setting seems to simplify the backgrounds, allowing us to more easily focus on the two protagonists. He relies heavily on their expressions and sounds in lieu of a lot of dialogue, which, of course, is the way real people actually communicate. This adds greatly to a feeling of their relationship being real. The film builds over time, with both Oskar and Eli giving little bits of themselves to each other. A bond forms that seems sweet and doomed, until Oskar saves Eli, and Eli saves Oskar...or did they? Are they cursed, or blessed? The real greatness to this wonderful, objectionable, no holds barred masterpiece of horror cinema is, there is no answer to the questions laid at our feet. We each are forced into considering the plight of Eli and Oskar, and there is a great deal to think about. I've never felt this way before. A priceless, uniquely sad movie on what it is to be a human being. Guillermo del Toro describes "Let the Right One In" as 'as delicate, haunting and poetic a film as your ever bound to see'. The Best Film of 2008.