Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let Me In

Year: 2010
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Elias Koteas, Richard Jenkins

Let Me In was one of four films I have been looking forward to in this last quarter of 2010, the other three being Machete, Devil and The Town. One got banned, one got delayed and Devil was just so-so, if you've read my review on it. So now let's talk about Let Me In.

The film is set in 1983, where we are introduced to Owen, a 12 year old boy living with his mother in a small apartment building. He hardly connects with his mum as she is going through a bitter divorce with his dad. He gets bullied by the mean kid at school, which causes him to act out fantasies of retaliating against them when he's by himself.

Then he sees an old man and a young girl his age move in next door. The girl is Abby, whom Owen finds to be quite peculiar when they first meet. Even though they get off on the wrong foot at first, they eventually connect and become friends.

However, Abby has a secret: she's a vampire, and like all vampires we've known, she needs blood. The old man, presumably her father, has to find people in the neighborhood to kill and drain them of their blood to feed her. Things get out of hand when a policeman investigates the deaths and Owen eventually learns the truth about Abby.

Matt Reeves, the director of Cloverfield, adapts the original Swedish film Let The Right One In for his work here. And I have not seen the original, but as for this version, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and intriguing movie. The setting is a snowy little town, where most of the scenes takes place at night, creating an eerie and cold atmosphere which suits the subject matter perfectly. Reeves also succeeds in the photography department with a lot of nice shots of the goings on, especially in the scene of a car accident by putting the camera inside the car. Very ingenious.

The best part of Let Me In is the cast. Reeves is blessed to have two phenomenal child actors for his film. Kodi Smit-McPhee, last seen in The Road (I'm still looking for this film btw), is awesome as Owen, the troubled young boy who has no friends, and finally finds one in his mysterious neighbor. Owen sees in Abby a lot of similarities with himself, and in her he finds a kindred spirit that helps him forget and sometimes overcome his own problems. Chloe Grace Moretz, who was Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, matches Kodi well as Abby. Chloe is quite the opposite of Hit Girl here, but she is really effective. As Abby, she is so fascinating to observe, even when she says little or does not do much. It's like you can feel that there's something unusual about her. And when Abby turns to monster mode, Chloe can be equally intimidating. As a result, Owen and Abby's relationship is fleshed out tremendously well on screen, and it becomes the focus of the story.

Richard Jenkins makes good with his supporting role as Abby's guardian while Elias Koteas rounds up the cast as the detective, and is effective as well. I do have an issue about Owen's mother not in the focus at all throughout the movie, but it is a small one.

This film does suffer a little from its slow pace, so if you're watching this at a late hour, it can be taxing. However, don't let that deter you at all. Let Me In is a fine piece of work that features an unusual relationship between two young children, and it will warm your heart even as it is tragic and dark at times.

This is officially in the running for my top 10 of the year. Recommended. (4/5)

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