Join 3,501 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


1. Let Me In
December 31, 2010 12:17 PM   Subscribe

The scene of the year is a squirm-inducing stunner that manages to make us sympathize with a would-be murderer.

Salon's Matt Zoller Seitz selects the 10 BEST FILM scenes from 2010.

Full of SPOILERS. Obviously.
posted by philip-random (54 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's with all this sudden love for a dodgy remake?
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on December 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


The scene of the year is a squirm-inducing stunner that manages to make us sympathize with a would-be murderer.

I would hope much like my life.
posted by pianomover at 12:23 PM on December 31, 2010


First line of the Salon.com video discussing the number one scene of the year:

"In Matt Reeves' American remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire thriller "Let the Right One In" a father goes looking for fresh blood to feed his girl."

That's not starting off on the wrong foot, that's like starting off on the wrong elbow or something. I had to close the window because I was so frustrated at their fundamental misunderstanding of those two characters. I'm sure they had something nice to say about how the scene was filmed or whatever, but guh.

[also grar "The American remake sucked hard, read the book or watch the original film" etc.]
posted by komara at 12:25 PM on December 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


The original film was amazing; haven't bothered to see the remake, though I've been thinking about it... I've been meaning to go on a binge of vampire movies for a while, and have copies of The Hunger, Herzog's Nosferatu remake, the Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire, and so on slowly collecting digital dust while I get on with more worthwhile endeavours....
posted by kaibutsu at 12:38 PM on December 31, 2010


Is this where get to celebrate my amazing uber-hipness by stating that I haven't seen any of these movies?
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:40 PM on December 31, 2010


Only if you intend to threadshit pre-emptively.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:43 PM on December 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nobody is ever hip for what they don't do.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:47 PM on December 31, 2010 [45 favorites]


What was with the ridiculous play-by-play descriptions of every single little thing going on in the video?
posted by Venadium at 12:50 PM on December 31, 2010


Haven't seen the remake. Probably will now having seen the scene in question. I think a point worth considering with any film that's remade from its original language into English is that the vast majority of English-first-language types WON'T go see a foreign language film. Period. So, particularly with regard to films that might be called "genre", there's a solid commercial reason to do a remake (most of which end up being awful, I agree).

But in the case of Let Me In, I've come across a surprising number of favorable reviews, many of which take this angle:

Let Me In remains a rare beast -- a strikingly original vampire thriller, remake or not.
posted by philip-random at 12:59 PM on December 31, 2010


What was with the ridiculous play-by-play descriptions of every single little thing going on in the video?

It's called analysis, hence my use of the filmschool tag.
posted by philip-random at 1:00 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let The Right One In was friggin spectacular. How this remake stack up?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:00 PM on December 31, 2010


I will agree that I much preferred Let the Right One In, but I won't shit on a remake until I actually make something myself.

And I'm not going to be that guy who tells someone to watch the original instead of the rendition, as if I'm preventing them from falling out a 3rd story window into rose bushes with razor petals. If watching a shitty movie inspires someone to read a great novel, so be it.

If another asshair bubblegum pop star covers Hallelujah and interests an early teen to listen to Leonard Cohen... go nuts Mr. Bieber.

But ffs, we can all agree that a good New Year's Resolution for journalists would be to "Actually do something with my calling and not throw out so many Top X lists"?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:01 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


"In Matt Reeves' American remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire thriller "Let the Right One In" a father goes looking for fresh blood to feed his girl."

Is that how the remake approaches the relationship or did the author just get it wrong? I'm thinking of watching the remake but not if that's how it was redone.

Komara: make sure to put Near Dark on your list of vampire flicks to watch.
posted by photoslob at 1:03 PM on December 31, 2010


I'm confused. If I've read the adulterated English translation of Let the Right One In, is it okay to see the adulterated English remake of the Swedish film, or do I have to watch the Swedish film with adulterated English subtitles first?
posted by LogicalDash at 1:08 PM on December 31, 2010


The Social Network? Really?

Were there really only 9 good films this year and then they had to throw that one in, or did I see the "Bad Parts" re-imagining of it?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:13 PM on December 31, 2010


Their reasons for praising Shutter Island are my reasons for not liking it much. Going in to see it, I knew from the preview exactly what would happen. In fact that movie and the memory of seeing A Mighty Wind completely cold is the reason that I took a vow to avoid trailers of anything but things like superhero movies with nothing to spoil.
posted by cmoj at 1:15 PM on December 31, 2010


I haven't seen any of these movies either, not even Toy Story 3. Nor have I seen Inception, Black Swan, Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World or The King's Speech. This does not make me hip. This makes me a lazy tightwad who won't drag his ass to a movie theater and pay ten bucks when he can wait a year and see the movie on Netflix Instant instead.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:26 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


It blows my mind that in the American remake the "caretaker" is cast as the father. I mean, it is not really explicit in the Swedish original that he is, in fact, a pedophile, but it's not really whitewashed either. He was a weird creepy guy in the original. Not really......fatherly.
posted by hecho de la basura at 1:34 PM on December 31, 2010


My favorite remake of a vampire film was Bloodlines.
posted by clarknova at 1:40 PM on December 31, 2010


My favorite film of the year was Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers, but there's no way it will end up on any Top 10 lists, practically by design.
posted by naju at 1:43 PM on December 31, 2010


It blows my mind that in the American remake the "caretaker" is cast as the father.

I didn't see the film -- did they really do this or did the critic just not understand the film?
posted by dobbs at 1:44 PM on December 31, 2010


For me, the moment I knew the American version would not hold its own to the superior Swedish version was the scene where Owen is first intimidated by his bully. The Swedish version conveyed their relationship with a menacing flick of the finger to his nose. In that one moment, their Oscar/Owen's terror is laid out with a simple threatening gesture. The bully has all the power and needs only to show his dominant position by raising a finger. The American version had his tormentors giving him a wedgie. A wedgie! That was the difference right there. Subtlety versus over-the-top ham fisted cliches.
posted by cazoo at 1:44 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite film of the year was Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers

Except it came out in 2009.
posted by dobbs at 1:45 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Except it came out in 2009.

Gah! In that case, I'm changing it to Sex and the City 2.
posted by naju at 1:47 PM on December 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's called analysis, hence my use of the filmschool tag.

It didn't take any analysis on my part to deduce that those were the character's feet and and head I was looking at in the back of the car. Is this something most film school students need pointed out to them?
posted by Venadium at 1:47 PM on December 31, 2010


SPOILERS FOR LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

Oh, hey! I have a question. I saw Let the Right One in and thought--if they make this in the USA, they'll have to leave out the nudity scene, which is a significant scene. I said this to multiple people and none of them even remember the nudity scene in the original.

So, I'm wondering if there were two different cuts of the original--I know there are two different versions of the subtitles released--one with the nudity shot in it and one without. If you saw the film, do you remember a shot of the little girl naked and the rather significant reason for showing it?
posted by dobbs at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2010


I saw it on instant Netflix, and it was the version with the nude scene. I was rather shocked by it (and only figured out the significance - and legality - when I googled later.) From what I understand, what's going on there is much clearer in the novel than in the film.
posted by naju at 1:53 PM on December 31, 2010


Next year it'll be The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
posted by Artw at 1:56 PM on December 31, 2010


I saw the scene (we got the movie from Netflix). I remember the shot in question being really quick and I'm not sure if everyone would have caught on to exactly was (or wasn't) being shown.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 1:59 PM on December 31, 2010


Note to self: Type faster or use preview.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 1:59 PM on December 31, 2010


And I thought the best film of the year was Meek's Cutoff (though it only played festivals so far). Goddamn I loved it. I'm a huge Coen Brothers fan but their great western got pwned by Kathy Reichardt's flick.

For 2011 I'm thinking the best film will be Malick's Tree of Life.
posted by dobbs at 2:03 PM on December 31, 2010


I never thought the US remake actually painted the Hakan role as a father. They make him a touch less creepy than in the original film (which in turn made him less creepy than I thought he was in the [translated] novel.) But a father? No. I thought the salon critic was just trying to find some way of describing it, knowing that it wasn't really accurate.
posted by tyllwin at 2:04 PM on December 31, 2010


American filmmaking is just about in ruins. The differences between the original Swedish film and the Hollywood remake is an almost point-by-point critique of what is wrong with the market-department-driven construction of feature films by the US film industry. It squanders enormous resources on mediocrity, resources that less fettered processes would create multiple masterpieces, resources that Hollywood manages to make into a commercially viable product one time out of ten.

The waste of treasure and talent really sickens me.

I mean, it is not really explicit in the Swedish original that he is, in fact, a pedophile, but it's not really whitewashed either.

Haven't read the novel, but in the movie it seemed pretty clear that the old guy was her aging non-vampire companion. She's only a kid and can't lead a normal life, so she needs someone not hampered by her constraints to, um, "procure" for her. I assumed this was not her first, and that Oscar would become her next. Does anyone know how the novel portrayed this relationship?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:34 PM on December 31, 2010


IIRC, in the novel he is explicitly a pedophile; in the Swedish film it's left vague how they came together, and in the US film, it's explicitly as you describe.
posted by tyllwin at 2:46 PM on December 31, 2010


I have a great idea: let's pretend to remake fantastic foreign films in American versions for people who won't go to see them in the original, and then, when they come to the theatre, we harvest them for their organs and body fat.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:58 PM on December 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


In the novel, the caretaker was explicitly a pedophile --- it was hinted at in the film, but not really explored.

Also, has anybody here actually seen the American remake? Not hearsay: actually seen the film. I'm not being snarky --- I'm really curious about how the relationship between the little girl and the caretaker is portrayed, and also how they deal with the issue of the little girl's gender.
posted by Tiresias at 3:04 PM on December 31, 2010


BLACK SWAN SPOILER:

The scene of the year is Winona Ryder stabbing herself in the face over and over again.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:19 PM on December 31, 2010


Also, has anybody here actually seen the American remake? Not hearsay: actually seen the film. I'm not being snarky --- I'm really curious about how the relationship between the little girl and the caretaker is portrayed, and also how they deal with the issue of the little girl's gender.

I've seen it. The caretaker is not at all portrayed as father. There is a shot of the girl showing the boy an old photograph of herself with a much much younger version of the old man. As in, their relationship started while he was still just a young boy, much like her current relationship that starts with the new boy.

The gender issue is very lightly hinted at. She's presented much more strongly as a girl, but there are softly implied hints otherwise. The nude shot from the Swedish version is left out. That scene is in the American version but we only see the boy's reaction to what the audience would see in that shot (if that makes sense). He sees her naked, but the audience doesn't. His reaction is ambiguous at best, as I think that character's reaction to any naked person would be pretty much the same regardless.
posted by dogwalker at 3:34 PM on December 31, 2010


dobbs: If you saw the film, do you remember a shot of the little girl naked and the rather significant reason for showing it?

I saw the film with that scene in, but I didn't realise what it was until I read the imdb messageboards afterwards. It lasts what, less than a second? Literally blink and you miss it.
posted by afx237vi at 3:37 PM on December 31, 2010


so, better part of 40 comments and in and precious little discussion of the actual scene in question, or of other arguably better scenes. May I then my submit my choice for the best 4-minutes-24-seconds of anything I saw all year.

Flash Delirium - by MGMT
the making of is pretty cool, too.
posted by philip-random at 3:54 PM on December 31, 2010


And let's not get started on Death at a Funeral (2007) and the insanity of remaking it in 2010 (regardless of a great comedy cast, the big question is still WHY???
posted by greenhornet at 4:59 PM on December 31, 2010


the vast majority of English-first-language types WON'T go see a foreign language film.

I see this kind of statement a lot, and it always seems to neglect the fact that most people in the world like to see films in their native language. The dubbing industry still exists for a reason, for instance. It's nor a particularly American or English-speaking tendency to want to see a film in one's own language. Those who prefer original language versions will seek them out, but usually, that's a minority in most places.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:20 PM on December 31, 2010


The Swedish original is great. The American remake is great. And yet they are different from each other.
posted by Zerowensboring at 7:37 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't see the film -- did they really do this or did the critic just not understand the film?

This is a drastic misunderstanding of the film. In both the American and original version, it's fairly clear that the older man has been with the vampire since the man was a little boy. That's also what is interesting about the whole 'pedophile' descriptor - at no point is he ever shown to lust after other 'children'. He is devoted to the vampire, which transcends age. The entire point of the reveal of the older man as a child who fell for the vampire is that it's made clear that is what Oskar/Owen is being groomed for as well - a lifetime of devoted servitude, until he dies to keep Eli/Abby safe and free.

I think the confusion may come from the credits and/or IMDB - the older man never has a name, and is credited as 'The Father', even tho it's very clear that's not what his relationship actually is.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:14 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to see some love for Shutter Island. I was feeling pretty "meh" about my movie choices so I popped it in and was absolutely blown away. What a stunning film! The intensity never lets up - I love it in sort of the same way I love The Machinist. Without spoiling anything, the ending feels so incredibly "right" - something I haven't seen in a film in a long time.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:02 AM on January 1, 2011


I;d pretty much say my feelings about Shutter Island were the exact polar opposite of yours, Baby_Balrog, particularly the ending.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on January 1, 2011


RE: father and daughter.

Do we know at this point in the film (early on if my memory of the Swedish version is correct) that they're not father and daughter? Maybe the the reviewer was just putting things in context relevant to where the narrative was at that particular point. Either that or, given the amount of discussion it's earned here, the man (Matt Zoller Seitz) is a world class confusionist.
posted by philip-random at 11:32 AM on January 1, 2011


Cleolinda Jones on Let Me In.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:52 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


> In both the American and original version, it's fairly clear that the older man has been with the vampire since the man was a little boy.

This is only half right. In the book, Hakan is a self-loathing pedophile intent on self-destruction; Eli finds him, saves him from drinking himself to death, and together they form a symbiotic relationship. In the Swedish film, director Tomas Alfredson left the origins of their relationship deliberately opaque, neither explaining nor contradicting the pedophilic backstory. In the American version, Hakan (called "Father" in the screenplay, though unnamed onscreen) met Abby when he was a boy, and has spent his whole life as her provider and companion.

I've read the book and seen both film adaptations. Of the three, I find the Swedish film to be the most successful. The American remake was certainly much better than I'd expected—Kodi Smit-McPhee's performance was very strong, and the cinematography, pacing and colour palette maintained the sombre nordic tones that made the first film so lovely. I even enjoyed some of the changes made in the remake: the emphasis on 80s pop culture, for example, or the change in Haken's positioning from (veiled) pedophile to grown child companion, which casts a pall on Abby's relationship with Owen and reveals her as more premeditated and manipulative than in the original film or book.

However, I just didn't enjoy the remake, which lacks the lightness of touch of the Swedish film. The CGI effects were clumsy and unrealistic (compare the subtle use of CGI in the original film to make Eli's face otherworldly to the cartoonish snap'n'snarl of Abby's transformations in the remake) and though Chloe Moretz is a fine child actor, she lacks the depth and vulnerability of Lina Leandersson. I don't think the remake is a complete failure—and I'm delighted to see the return of Hammer Films!—but I'd urge anyone interested to see the original film instead.
posted by hot soup girl at 1:01 PM on January 1, 2011


One of the most interesting things about the American re-make is that it's being done by British Hammer Films. Simon Oakes has several interviews about the movie on line. In the one I've linked he suggests that, as a Brit, he can serve as a gateway between the US and Euro-culture. Make of that what you will.
posted by CCBC at 1:29 PM on January 1, 2011


Yes, and Hammer's also been filming a remake of The Woman in Black. There's been a surge of interest lately in British ghost stories (the BBC's Christmas Eve remake of Whistle and I'll Come To You wasn't too bad).
posted by hot soup girl at 2:04 PM on January 1, 2011


The return of the Hammer brand sounds very promising. I prefer horror that creeps me out, as opposed to overtly grossing me out. And Hammer was always good for that (the creepy stuff, that is).
posted by philip-random at 2:19 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice clip. I loved the original, and this suggests that they've brought enough fresh ideas to the remake to make it worth watching, even though I probably won't bother. I am a sucker for shot-by-shot analysis with my movie criticism, so thank you for posting.

On the subject of off-color foreign-language vampire love stories, no home cinema season would be complete without Korean auteur Park Chan Wook's Thirst. Remake that, Hollywood!
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 8:46 AM on January 2, 2011


I thought the post lead-in was in reference to the infamous scene from 'The Killer Inside Me'. Which would be appropriate.
posted by Football Bat at 1:30 PM on January 2, 2011


« Older You are in a warm, dark, comfortable place. This h...  |  The Bermuda Triangle of Produc... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments