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Let the Right One In BD impressions

Blu-ray

It’s probably fair to say that the two main significant vampire films to be released in 2008 were Twilight, based on the inexplicably popular book by Stephenie Meyer, and Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In. Of these, there can be little doubt that the latter is the superior movie. Whereas Twilight was basically an exercise in misogynist navel-gazing featuring pretty people standing around looking vapid, this Swedish effort, itself based on a successful novel, is an altogether more mature and intelligent exploration of the vampire myth - one which manages to avoid clichés for the most part and give a potentially silly subject gravity. It’s not a particularly “fun” movie to watch, due to a combination of its bland visual style (as repetitive in its own way as Twilight’s continually blue-tinged cinematography) and the fact that the subject matter is pretty dark with no real lightening of the mood, and ultimately caters to a completely different crowd from those who lapped up Twilight’s mushy romance. I do have some criticisms - for instance, I’m not sure the decision to set it in the 1980s ultimately lent anything to the proceedings, and I did feel that the pacing flagged a little in the first hour - but I’d rather watch this again a hundred times than view Twilight even once more.

Let the Right One In is an extremely drab-looking film, and this can lead to the image looking a bit underwhelming. It lacks depth, and the rather flat lighting doesn’t help matters. Wide shots lack definition, and ringing around high frequency edges, including the opening credits text, suggests that filtering took place at some stage in the chain. On the plus side, the grain looks decidedly natural. I did, however, note an instance of DVNR artefacts: at around the one-hour mark, when Oskar thumps one of his bullies, the stick he uses goes a bit Gorilla My Dreams (see Example 11). This is the only instance I could spot where anything like this happens, but that’s no guarnatee that it definitely doesn’t occur elsewhere. I can’t say this is a particularly striking presentation, although that’s at least partly attributable to the visual style. 7/10

Let the Right One In
studio: Magnolia; country: USA; region code: ABC; codec: VC-1;
file size: 22 GB; average bit rate (including audio): 27.59 Mbit/sec

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Posted: Friday, May 01, 2009 at 12:27 PM | Comments: 3
Categories: BD Impressions | Blu-ray | Cinema | Technology

 
Comments

1.

Glad you enjoyed the film Michael. I saw it on its theatrical release and must say it was one of the highlights on my experiences at the cinema so far this year.

No doubt it will feature in my "Top Ten" films of 2009 (based on its UK theatrical release although I am aware it actually was first projected at FrightFest in 2008). Although upon reflection I do concur with your observations about the pacing in the first hour or so. It is a rather languid film but quite exquisitely so if one is in a the right mood. By the way any more news on another region-free release being put out with the 'preferred' theatrical subtitles?

I'm currently reading the novel and think the setting is perhaps more relevant to the author's conception of the story in terms of the 80's working-class estate being an urban man-made environment with no history. The occupants living out their mundane lives against a backdrop of this city landscape that was supposed to usher in the modernity of a bright future but has failed to realise this vision. Instead being a rather sterile and culturally 'dead' space.

Curiously, in many ways the estate setting reminded me of Thamesmead (favoured location of Kubrick's for Full Metal Jacket and A Clockwork Orange). This was another new housing project, in South East London, from the recent past that was promoted as offering a bright futuristic vision. In which families were lured to live out their fulfilled lives in and around trendy new architecture in an atmosphere of achievable affluence and posterity. In reality its turned out quite different with the city structures now an eyesore from a few decades past shaping a very socio-economically deprived population. Place is actually quite bizarre and not far from me.

Posted by: Count Fosco, May 2, 2009 10:45 AM

2.

I can't believe you criticized the visual style of all things. It's supposed to look intentionally bleak and Fargo-esque. Were you not even impressed by that AMAZING shot at the end in the pool? Or what about the "spraycan" lighting?

Posted by: Tyler, May 3, 2009 5:46 PM

3.

Did you have any problems with the subtitles? Read reports that its been a little dumbed-down with the english.

Posted by: Dipesh, May 7, 2009 1:44 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

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