I am going to start off this post by stating that Twilight was not the WORST movie I have ever seen, but honestly, what the heck is all this hype? I went into this film thinking that it was going to be crap hoping I wouldn’t be let down, despite the endless ranting and raving from my cousins, uncle, and grandmother. Granted, a 16 year old, a 13 year old, a 47 year old & a 70 year old’s taste in films is probably going to differ greatly from mine, but I never cast out a film for it’s subject matter. I mean come on, I have loved films like Bridget Jones Diary despite is being a huge chick-flick, and Happiness despite, well, it’s… um… child raping. We have all seen at least one vampire film in our however short lives, and we all know that its been done before. Twilight attempted to reinvent the genre in a seemingly clever way (vampires who want to live among people and not eat them), but where it all went wrong was in the choices made by the director and editor. First, I will give credit where credit is due by giving props to the director of photography – or camera operator for those who are not aware – and the colorist for making a pretty good looking film. The somewhat muted colors and the wide landscape shots made for a really nice feel. However, in any film that has special effects, I just can’t get past them when they look like shit, or the editor (general term, I know) uses short cuts to make the action seem cooler. For instance, when the vampires attacked people or moved around quickly, instead of just cutting it cleverly or perhaps making the actors work for their money, they just sped up the film, putting the people into fast motion. Now, I know this will fool many people, but anyone who knows what they are looking at will have no choice but to chuckle and roll their eyes. The MTV generation & people who don’t care too much about cinematic nuances will love this movie (which anyone with a half a brain could have told you from the preview – see image below). Also, check out this much more cynical rant on the film over at Out The Other Ear‘s WordPress.
90210 with vampires.
Now, on the other hand we have a film that has very quickly made its way to the very tippy-top of my all-time best list. Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) so beautifuly did what Twilight wanted to do but came up about 50 yards short of a toughdown. Instead of using a huge cast of 20-somethings trying to play high school kids (what the hell is up with that anyway!?), they used two 12-year old children to have a very real, intimate relationship and added in the vampire element very subtly.
let the right one in.
I actually already wrote a review of this film on Rotten Tomatoes which I will now insert:
I didn’t think it was possible to see a subject that was brought to film in 1909 live long enough to make it to the 100 year mark, but like their ageless blood-lusting creatures prove – if you have the right ingredients you can truly live forever. “Let The Right One In” was an absolutely beautiful example that as long as creative minds still exist, exceptional art will always be made.
After the recent (past few years) onslaught of sub-par vampire films (Twilight, Blade Trinity, Underworld: Evolution) I had my doubts going into this film. The only thing (aside from positive reviews from peers) that brought my curious eye to the theater was the lure of Swedish culture. If nothing else, I would be able to immerse myself in a society rather new to me. The curtains draw and the theater falls silent as the credits roll over black. Snow falls quietly on a small courtyard surrounded by tall apartment buildings. A young boys voice mutters, “Squeel like a pig. Squeel.” Unlike it’s blood-soaked, action-packed brothers before it, this film’s understated nature is what truly captured my eye.
Director Thomas Alfredson & cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema constantly make great use of the incredible depth of field offered by shooting on the 35mm Arriflex, and through all sorts of diffusion techniques create lighting that can only be described as a technique they called “spray light.” The whole film has a very muted feeling to it; from the pale faces of the actors, to the white snow covering everything outside. It truly added to the understated & quiet images on screen.
squeel like a pig. squeel.
The most incredible part of this story was how it took a subject nearly beaten to a pulp, and brought it into a real world situation. Now, I don’t mean that a horde of vampires attacked Stockholme and created mass chaos, rather it was a story of a little girl (Eli) who has been a vampire all her life and knows that she only needs blood to survive. We are shown everything from her feeding, to her playing silly games with her new found friend Oskar. The moments of terror thoughout the film are truly horrifying not only because of their perfect execution, but also because of the stoic events and images surrounding them. Example: the images go from completely quiet and motionless, to a woman bursting into a ball of fire and screaming in agony.
Needless to say, this reviewer found this film completely brilliant, but also incredibly understated. Make sure you go into this film expecting beautiful imagery & a slow-moving story with an immense amount of payoff.