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Let It Be, the definitive Let Me In review

Friday 12 November 2010, 15:26

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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Lest there remain scinitillae of doubt in your minds, be assured that howsoever your natural human curiosity compels you there is not a single reason to be found for seeking out and watching Let Me In, the English-language remake of Tomas Alfredson's Kermode Award-winning Let the Right One In.

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    Comment number 1.

    The important thing is that the remake is done well enough that people who do not like foreign language films will get to experience the story. To say that the original is a story about children that happened to feature vampires, and the remake is a vampire film that happens to have children, hey, it's a good line, but it isn't true. I went to see Let Me In just for the sneer, to see how badly they had bungled it (a la Ringu and The Ring) but was relieved and impressed at how well it had been remade. It's a genuine remake, the heart and soul of the original is present, so what are you complaining about? Even the CGI is restrained by Hollywood standards, although Abby did look like a bloodthirsty Gollum in the first sequence. I agree that things that are hinted at in the original are spelled out too obviously at times in the remake, but somehow, my enjoyment survived this. You sound more concerned about the audience this is aimed at (people who don't like foreign language films) than the integrity of the story in the remake, Mark. Silly man.

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    Comment number 2.

    I have seen the remake and the original. And to respond to those people who say: 'what if I haven't seen the original, will I get anything out of it?' The answer is no because actually it's a very disappointing film as a whole. Because Reeves wants to distance himself from the original in some areas he incorporates the idea of the detective, which becomes too heavily involved in the plot. In the original you had the town drunks who were beautifully woven into the main storyline and tension between Oskar and Eli. Here the detective's discovery takes away so much from that love story between, this time Owen and Abby, that the film becomes a muddled mess and is not sure which story to tell.

    As a result all the subtle, romantic moments from the original have to be spelled out to the audience which is toe curling and uncomfortable. If there is one point where it improves or matches the original it is in the performance of Richard Jenkins, who tries to add pathos to a bad script, he is the only subtle thing about this film which otherwise feels the need to point at every emotion with a large neon sign. He's a great actor, the film is not very good.

    If there is a reason for it to exist, it is to turn those who haven't seen the original to go and seek it out. Other than that it is entirely pointless.

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    Comment number 3.

    I haven't seen Let The Right One In, but I have just bought the DVD a little later.

    I saw Dr. K. at the Cheltenham Lit Festival and he mentioned that he wasn't interested in casual film criticism and used Let The Right One In/Let Me In as an example - that is, he's not really interested in anyone's opinion on Let Me In unless they've seen the original, and I agree with him completely. A remake, more often than not, nullifies the context of the original and to not see the original is effectively to miss half of the movie.

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    Comment number 4.

    Dr. K.,

    In the same way that you are concerned about Let Me In, I am concerned about the remake of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I think the Swedish original was intelligent and elegant. The only primary flaw seems to be that it was a great movie not filmed in English.

    Why is it that when a great film is not made in English, Hollywood feels a need to churn out a copy that is? Quite frankly, the idea of having Daniel Craig running around attempting a Swedish accent (which will inevitably make everything he says sound like "bork") does not impress me.

    The way I see it, Hollywood's remakes of non-English films is just a steam-rollering of local film industries and is a poor practice born out of a lack of originality in the mainstream industry.

    Dr. A.

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    Comment number 5.

    I haven't seen the remake so I direct this question to those who have:

    In the original, there is a very uncomfortable moment in which you see Eli's private parts as she gets dressed in Oskar's house: the camera lingers on it for at least 2 seconds, but it's quite clear. Indeed, there is a subtle and unspoken sexual tension between Eli and Oskar, but it's dealt with so well and so delicately. (The moment Eli and Oskar share a bed springs to mind though it could have other innocent undertones of belonging, loneliness).

    Considering that we are dealing with young children in this film, I was just wondering if there is anything so hard-edged as this moment in the remake. Would I be correct in deducing it was a sanitised Americanised retelling, with all the hard edges blunted? If so then it is indeed pointless.


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