Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Let the Right One In: More Love From UK Critics

Released in the U.S. to wide acclaim in 2008, Swedish horror shocker Let the Right One In (see my below posts) apparently didn't play many UK theaters until last year.

And the critical reaction to the film, across the pond, was similar to the reaction it received stateside: Tomas Alfredson's alternately tender and violent tale of pre-teen angst, masquerading as a vampire flick, landed at No. 5 in the year-end poll of 60 critics conducted by the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine.

The full list (of 10), as might be expected, is a bit Eurocentric, with the French-Italian A Prophet at the top. Two entries are from Claire Denis, and also included is Antichrist, the latest typically provocative film from Sweden's Lars von Trier.

It's reassuring to see Kathryn Bigelow's intense and brilliant war film The Hurt Locker land at No.2; Pete Docter's animated comic drama Up and Quentin Tarantino's cheeky WW II historical rewrite Inglourious Basterds are the other U.S. productions on the list.

But back to Let the Right One In. Check out what the poll's critics had to say about the film:

Leonardo Garcia-Tsao (Critic, Mexico) - Teenage angst meets vampirism in a meticulously crafted film that transcends genre conventions and finds beauty in alienation.

Ryan Gilbey (‘New Statesman’, UK)
- Few pictures have combined tenderness, compassion and extreme bloodletting to such memorable effect. I didn’t realise how protective I felt towards the film until I caught myself grinding my teeth at the news of a forthcoming US remake.

Carmen Gray (Critic, UK) - With a soft spot for vampire films at the worst of times, I was touched by this very human, bittersweet take on the genre.

Mark Kermode (Critic, UK) - This year’s Pan’s Labyrinth, in which Alfredson reinvents the vampire genre from scratch.

Derek Malcolm (‘Evening Standard’, UK)
- Vampire movies are two-a-penny just now, but this extraordinary Swedish effort is easily the best around — an art film with considerable commercial potential.

Demetrios Matheou (‘Sunday Herald’, UK) - Amid the current craze for horror, this phenomenally well-crafted Swedish vampire film offers more bite than all the others put together.

Sukhdev Sandhu (‘Daily Telegraph’, UK) - From documentaries such as Three Miles North of Molkom to the Wicker Man-sampling visuals of Gothenburg’s Sincerely Yours label, I spent a lot of 2009 being ravished by Sweden. Best of all was this exquisitely melancholic and heartbreakingly beautiful vampire love story that also featured my favourite exchange of dialogue: “Will you be my girlfriend?" “Oskar, I’m not a girl.”

David Thompson (Critic and documentarian, UK) - Never mind the reinvention of vampires as soulful celibate lovers, this was a fabulous twist on the genre focusing on the theme of adolescent loneliness.

I'm looking forward to revisiting Alfredson's film on Blu-ray.

No comments: