18 March 2010
On a personal note, I've been moping around the house for two days sick now, missing work, missing everything, and this is the first movie I've managed to put on and sit through. I'd never seen it. I kept putting it off. I'm toying with a new idea that's kind of horror/thrillery but involves only children, and I figured, now was the time to stop putting off the "best vampire movie ever."
So it could be that I'm still sick, but I'm kind of at a loss as to what to say about it. I went in curious but resistant (hype has that effect) and I came out in love. The tone of the story and the events in the story were perfect: this is a movie about being lonely and scared and 11 years old. This movie has no right being remade in America, where depicting things like child sexuality and innocent violence are all-but-illegal. Especially that first one. We're an uptight culture. Thank god Sweden isn't. (As a product of my own uptight culture, I am struggling with the impulse to apologize for how lascivious that sounds; it isn't meant that way. It's meant in the tone of the film, and nothing more. Look how damaging and oppressive our culture is: I can't even discuss it openly.)
Speaking of discussing it openly, my biggest questions from the story were the relationship between Håkan and Eli, and the whole scarred-crotch thing. The latter I mistook for a shot of ordinary prepubescent girl's bits that happened to have some kind of scar above it, and apparently my mind is dark enough for that to suggest some kind of rape or tearing-open before she became a vampire, some kind of brutal history. As to the former, I was guessing Håkan was a lover (or maybe even her unchanged brother) who'd aged while she hadn't. Wikipedia sheds light on both mysteries for me. Håkan was indeed a pervert and would-be lover, though this was (rightly, I think) left more ambiguous in the film. Likewise, the novel says Eli is in fact a castrated androgynous boy, so I wasn't taking the claims of "I'm not a girl" seriously enough it seems. (I thought she meant, "I'm not a little girl; I'm a kind of inhuman monster.") That, too, was left open in the film, and again I think rightly so.
The perspective-character is Oskar; he didn't know anything about her pedophile helper, any more than he knew the origins of her as a vampire or why she would have a scarred, junkless crotch. So why should we?
I can't think of any complaints about this film, at all, except that the delicate tone this gets right will be exactly the first thing thrown out when Hollywood gets through with it. And I quote, "Producer Simon Oakes has made it clear that the plot of [the retitled remake] Let Me In will closely resemble that of the original film, except that it will be made 'very accessible to a wider audience'." Emphasis mine, and you can be sure what that means.
(This post, notably longer. I just missed blogging, is all, so I wrote more. It's my blog. Deal with it.)