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Let Me In(2010)
A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.
For more about Let Me In and the Let Me In Blu-ray release, see Let Me In Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 3, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Matt Reeves
Starring: ChloŽ Grace Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas, Cara Buono, Sasha Barrese
» See full cast & crew
Let Me In Blu-ray Review
Let this one into the Blu-ray collection.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 3, 2011
I can't be your friend.
Let Me In is a movie that defies genre; it's highly original -- even if it is based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and is a remake/retake on the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One In -- but it's completely unfair to label it as one thing or another, and "Horror" is certainly not appropriate. "Horror" implies fear, but there's nothing to be afraid of in Let Me In, at least for those viewers who find themselves on the "side" of the two child leads -- in other words, most every viewer. The film certainly plays with Horror elements, but at its core Let Me In is much more. It's a story of friendship, acceptance, and self-worth, but through those positive messages lies a downright grisly story about sacrifice, Vampirism, and murder. Genres seem almost inconsequential to a movie like this; labels only get in the way and create false perceptions that will inevitably pull in and draw away potential viewers, some of whom will be disappointed with the end result, others of whom will be missing out on a positively incredible cinematic experience. For the violence and darkness that define much of Let Me In from a thematic and visual perspective, there's an underlying tenderness that counterbalances the film's more traditional Vampire stylings in favor of an honest, almost feel-good core, even if the film is awash in brutal violence and plenty of difficult scenes that will challenge viewers to decide whether the film is a darkly-clad tale of endurance, friendship, and self-preservation, or a grisly story of unwarranted death and confused identities.
Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road) is a troubled young man who comes from a broken home and finds himself serving as an unwilling punching bag for the bigger kids at school. Owen takes his punishment and never fights back, but his fate is about to change when a mysterious new neighbor moves into his complex. Abby (Chloe Moretz) is herself a troubled young child who's different in many ways, not the least of which is the way she goes barefoot even in frigid temperatures and with several inches of snow on the ground. Abby warns Owen that the two cannot be friends for reasons she does not share and Owen would not want to hear, but the young man persists until the two form an unbreakable bond that runs deeper than their personal troubles and the blood that flows through their veins. With Abby's help, Owen learns how to stand up for himself, for better or for worse. Meanwhile, Abby's secrets are slowly revealed to Owen. Locals begin turning up dead, and Abby's caregiver (Richard Jenkins, The Visitor) seems to be in the middle of the new string of trouble around town. The deaths also grab the attention of a local detective (Elias Koteas, The Thin Red Line) who will see and experience things in his search for answers that will forever change his life.
Let it be said up front that Let Me In is a deliberately-paced movie; in other words, that's code for "slow." But don't take that as a negative, at least in this case. Let Me In is one of those rare pictures where its occasionally sluggish pacing is an asset. It allows the characters to become fully developed, the plot to be completely realized, and provides ample time for viewers to discern the critical and nuanced elements of the story alike, both of which will prove crucial to one's ultimate perception of whether this is a feel-good movie or a disgusting and violent romp that's exploitative and grotesque. It's the former, though -- a movie that bends and breaks "genre" convention by highlighting a unique relationship between a creature of the night and an innocent child and the bonds they form, bonds of not only friendship but protection no matter the cost -- that seems the true identity of Let Me In, and contextually, that's highly unique and praiseworthy to no end. That a film can take traditionally dark and devious elements but mold them into something that's almost the antithesis -- a feel-good story the kind of which is almost exclusively reserved for tearjerking Dramas -- of that traditional "genre" structure is enough to gain the film the attention it deserves, but Let Me In is not exclusively a product of its original blending of themes, story lines, and emotions. No, there's a wonderfully complete movie here, the likes of which seem all too rare anymore. It's a throwback noir-style picture that's as visually complex as it is thematically involved and emotionally draining. Movies of this nature seem the domain of bygone generations where craft, story, and smarts were more important than the bottom line, when audiences were assumed to be smart and demanding of something more than what passes for mainstream cinema in 2011.
Let Me In ultimately boils down to its core relationship, that between the Vampire Abby and the human boy Owen. This is a story about friendship, one that espouses not only the core values of friendship but that highlights what can become a rare and ultimately life-defining partnership that goes beyond familiarity and enters into some ethereal domain reserved exclusively for the most sincere, trusting, and unbreakable kinship that runs deeper than blood and more robust than even romance. The film works because the characters seem like kindred spirits, two souls of grossly varied backgrounds but who search for the same thing in life: acceptance. Abby is a Vampire, forced to live in the shadows, consume only the blood of others, and rely on a guardian who defends her identity and feeds her cravings, no matter the personal cost. Richard Jenkins's character is appropriately dubbed only "The Father." A provider, a caregiver, a man whose love knows no bounds, he's both an Earthly father replacement and someone who takes on a greater spiritual sense, not necessarily God but certainly a guardian angel of sorts who protects and physically and emotionally feeds Abby. Nevertheless and despite the presence of a caregiver, Abby is a loner in the world, a girl certainly capable of taking care of herself -- though that usually means taking a life as her physical needs or her Vampiric state dictate -- but who is nevertheless in need of another person who can offer her acceptance and understanding that she can reciprocate. She finds that person in Owen, a boy suffering from many of the same afflictions as Abby but who is nevertheless her antithesis in terms of physical strength and resolve. Bullied, beaten, and one not to stand up for himself, Owen learns through Abby to toughen up, but he takes his newfound self-confidence too far and ultimately can't shake the odds that are stacked against him. In one another, Owen and Abby discover who they are and who they want to be, Abby a normal person capable of genuine feeling and emotions who can lead a traditional life and Owen a girl who shows him what it means to be alive, even if she is in, in a manner of speaking, dead.
Finally, Let Me In is a stunning technical achievement that uses its supportive elements -- visuals, music, cinematography, acting -- to enhance the story and round it into shape, a shape that ultimately sees the movie as one of 2010's finest not only in terms of its structural elements but its genre-breaking and tradition-bending story. The performances of Let Me In are nothing short of spectacular. Kodi Smit-McPhee dazzled as a confused and somewhat lost soul in The Road, and he's the perfect fit to play a similar character in Let Me In. He has an uncanny natural ability to play a role with equal parts innocence and awe at the world around him, as a child with deep-rooted inner feelings that are somehow, someway, or for some reason beyond his control kept in check and never allowed to come out and fully define who he is. Kodi Smit-McPhee is a phenomenal young talent who's made two already exemplary films into masterpieces of the dark and uncertain but has a bright and assured future ahead. Chloe Moretz is also exceptional, handling her complex character with confidence; hers is an infinitely challenging part and the young actress pulls it off with ease by somehow juggling the always-on-the-precipice dark side with her desire to be a normal adolescent girl. Together, Moretz and Smit-McPhee make for a dynamic pairing that forms the center of the film both through their performances and understanding of the challenges of the characters they play. Matt Reeves has also created a fantastic atmosphere for Let Me In. Superficially it may look like just another trite pairing of a Vampire story with a cold and dreary faÁade, but there's so much more to the film's look than just, well, a look. It's about mood, about reinforcing the character dynamics, about developing the plot beyond words and actions. It's a necessary look in a film like this, and alongside the film's deliberate pacing, the overbearing darkness rounds the film into a shape that takes hold deep inside the viewer and never relents until the end. Are there any faults? Let Me In sports a few misfire special effects shots, but otherwise, there's not much room for complaint. The special effects are secondary to the story and feel of Let Me In, fleeting supportive elements that advance the plot but don't define it. Otherwise, this is one rock-solid movie that's about as good as movies get.
Let Me In Blu-ray, Video Quality
Let Me In is by its nature somewhat soft and incredibly dark. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release appears faithful to the film's intended visual scheme. As a result, it's not the most intricately detailed or abundantly colorful image out there, though the film's handful of brighter scenes do manage to produce some strong clothing details, crisp definition, and solid colors. Even in its darker moments, Let Me In produces a handsome film-like texture that's accentuated by a hint of grain. Black levels can be inky solid or slightly murky; they're rarely perfect but hardly ever messy, fortunately falling somewhere close to the top end rather than the bottom. Skin tones often take on a slightly pale appearance, no doubt a product of the soft lighting and excessive darkness and not a fault of the Blu-ray transfer. Minor banding is evident in a few scenes, but this is otherwise a proficient transfer that's not the sort that's designed to serve as eye candy, but its apparent faithfulness to the picture's original intent is its strong suit.
Let Me In Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Let Me In features a reserved soundtrack that lets loose with energy at specific points throughout the track. Much like the film it accompanies, the track is moody and audibly soft until it springs into action to support some wonderful atmospherics or deadly action sound effects. Bass could stand to be a bit tighter in a few instances, but it's generally rumbly and deep without playing as too sloppy or undefined. Music drifts nicely through the stage, whether era-specific pop songs or score, while general atmospherics bring some much-needed nuance to the experience to round it into form. Indeed, whether a cold, gusty wind or screams that reverberate through a gymnasium and, in effect, the listening area, the track makes full use of the 5.1 configuration and does well to create varied but critical environments that only add to the quality of the film. More potent and energy-dependent effects work well, too; a train zips across the soundstage in one scene, and the film's final minutes spring to life with sounds of terror and agony and uncertainty and the unknown and the supernatural, and then, quiet and life. It's an amazing sequence in the context of the film and the specifics of the on-screen locale in which it occurs. Rounded out by superior dialogue reproduction -- from the highest-pitched screams to the most subtle whispers -- Anchor Bay's lossless soundtrack for Let Me In is an unequivocal winner.
Let Me In Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Let Me In features a fine assortment of bonus materials; there's pretty much a little bit of everything here, including a commentary track, a PiP experience, a few featurettes, trailers, a still gallery, and even a digital copy for on-the-go viewing.
Let Me In Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Let Me In is a dazzling picture of the dark and macabre but also of the bonds of friendship, true friendship that transcends even physical form. It's a film of survival and self-worth, about seeing past the exterior and finding the good inside, even if, for whatever reason, it's cloaked and rendered unseen by those with only a one-dimensional approach to life. There are so many good things about Let Me In -- the fantastic story, superb acting, and a wonderful mood -- but it's ultimately how the film meshes a tender core with a dark and foreboding faÁade that makes it work so well. One of 2010's best earns a high-quality Blu-ray release from Anchor Bay. A strong technical presentation and a fine assortment of extra content round this disc into form as a must-own Blu-ray. Highly recommended.
Let Me In: Other Editions
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Let Me In Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray - February 1-7 - February 1, 2011
When Disney first announced that they would begin releasing some classic animated features outside of the Diamond Series, Blu-ray fans were ecstatic that they would soon be seeing their favorite animated films at a higher frequency in high definition but were unsure ...
• Let Me In Blu-ray Announced - November 22, 2010
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has announced Let Me In for Blu-ray release on February 1, 2011. This English-language remake of the Swedish horror thriller Let The Right One In, directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and ChloŽ Moretz ...
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