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Product Reviews

7 (71% helpful)

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    Being a huge fan of Nicholas Winding Refn (The Pusher Trilogy, Bleeder, Fear X, Bronson), I had very high hopes for this film, and it did not disappoint! I see it has been marketed as an all-action adventure like 300, which is a mistake as it is far more similar to much earlier Kurosawa or Tarkovsky films (as several critics have mentionned)! It is a slow-paced, dream-like, beautifully shot, almost dialogue-free study on the circular nature of violence, man's innate savagry, and the effects of religion on the earlier, pagan peoples. While the violence is sparse, when it does occur, it is almost unbearably graphic (that this film is a 15 is hugely shocking!), realistic, and not made to look heroic or stylised in any way. The characters seem fully developed without any real dialogue for the most part, and while the storyline is relatively basic, it is also highly unique & original!
    Mads Mikkelson gives a fantastic performance as the mute, one-eyed, central character, and his relationship with the boy is truly hypnotic!
    To sum up: An intelligent, brutal, important & original film that everyone who loves good cinema should see!

  2.  Beautiful!


    Having read the incredible novel this film is based on I had little hope that the film could live up to the intricate detail and loving character-work of the book. Happily, I was wrong!
    The film takes a different stance from the book and concentrates more on the relationship between Oskar & Eli- the two main characters. The violence, paedophillia, drug use etc, present in the novel is all suggested rather than shown graphically, which is a good choice considering there is no possible way the horrific detail of the book could ever be shown in film. Also, it gives much more time to develop the characters and the overall film has a style entirely it's own! For all this however, the film actually remains remarkably faithful to the original story, so fans will be very pleased (and be able to fill in a lot of things only hinted at here!). The bleak, yet utterly beautiful landscapes and relationships that dominate this film are breathtaking- one is reminded somewhat of Gus Van Sant or Chan-Wook Park at times, but director Tomas Alfredson more than holds his own in this regard.
    Perhaps I care so much about the characters because I had already fallen in love with them through reading the book, but the quality of acting is outstanding (especially from the two young stars), and the realistic human nature of these (mostly) ordinary people shines through the style and subject of the film.
    I would recommend reading the novel first as it is a modern masterpiece, but only for the strong stomached- a fact which is remedied by the 'gentler' take of the film. However, time should show this piece of cinema will stand on it's own as both a beautiful love story and dark fairytale.
    All in all, a unique treat for lovers of cinema and/or brilliant storytelling- watch it soon, as there is a (highly unneccessary) hollywood remake in the works already!

  3.  Unique!


    Having heard many good things about the film adaptation, I decided to do my homework and read the novel first- I didn't regret it. This book, as other reviewers have stated, truly breathes new life into the stagnant horror genre and the vampire myth. However, the reason this story is so compelling is the unparallelled attention paid to even it's most minor characters. Rather than hindering the narrative, this acts as a device which keeps the reader on their toes and the level of detail makes you genuinely care about even the most monstrous (or minor) of characters. An odd mix, it is oversimplifying things to call this a horror. The 'horror,' be it violence, gore, scares etc, is at once a paced and highly effective cross between extreme, bloody, animal violence; and the suggestive, subtle terror of victorian writers such as M.R.James- the best example of this may be the beautifully suggestive (and terrifying) title, 'Let the Right One In' (taken from a Morrissey song).
    The real achievment of John Ajvide Lindqvist is that here he consistently tackles the darkest topics of paedophillia, bullying, revenge, drugs etc, head-on- yet the book leaves you feeling rejuvenated and full of hope for the world.
    At the end of the day this is a love story, an expert portrait of the human psyche and a blistering debut novel of unflinching truth. With vampires. Go read.