Let the Right One In (spoilers will be marked)

Tried to search for it, but all the words get filtered out by the engine :smack:. Anyway, how freaking amazing is this movie?! I saw this great movie for the first time yesterday and I’m off to Amazon to buy the DVD. I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’m curious to hear thoughts on my questions: what was the silver briefcase Lacke was carrying around all the time? also, do you think Oskar will become the next hitman/blood gatherer for Eli? Did Eli pick up the first man in the same way–by befriending him as a boy? And what the heck was with the crotch shot of Eli?If you haven’t seen the movie, you must.

Apparently the book explains things more clearly. I haven’t read it but:

Re: The crotch shot…the “girl” is actually a boy (remember how “she” says several times “I’m not a girl”?). He had his boy parts cut off (I think by the keeper-man).

I have read some complaints that the DVD has new subtitles that are inferior to the ones in the theatrical release.

Actually it was by the vampire aristocrat who turned Eli into a vampire. It’s explained in the book & came up here in another discussion of it.

Awesome. Looks like I’ll have to read the book (didn’t know there was one).

Ok, the Eli being a boy adds a whole other dimension to this…I had no freaking idea! I thought the crotch shot was supposed to show a little pubic hair or something… I can hardly make sense of their relationship now.
What are people’s thoughts on the final scene? Are the killings justified? Why was the fat kid left alive?

Yes, Oskar was Eli’s new blood gatherer/caretaker. I’m curious as to whether people think he resigned himself to the same fate as her previous caretaker. The first guy was obviously not very good at his job…killing people in the middle of a public park? Oskar seems like he would be a better killer. But Oskar will grow old and Eli won’t - eventually she’ll have pick up someone new, and the cycle continues.

I just saw this movie this weekend, and boy did I miss that part of it.

Possible spoilers:

I really liked the movie, but I had two small complaints about it. First, I never got into the pacing of the movie. It seemed … odd … to me. I was onboard at first, with the slow pacing with not much happening beyond character development, and then sudden, fast actions occurring during interesting times, and then back to the slow pacing. But toward the middle and end of the film, I found that kind of pacing was too jarring, and then it seemed to be completely abandoned and instead turned to a kind of mush of stuff. I’m not sure I’m being clear (actually I’m pretty sure I’m not), but the pacing never really agreed with me.

Second, I didn’t like the choice to make Eli so … mysterious. From the big reveal that I didn’t get, to Eli’s backstory, to Eli’s length of time undead, to Eli’s actual motivations (does Eli actually like Oskar or Eli’s first caretaker?, is it just a parasitical relationship?, is Eli capable of emotions or just emotional manipulation, etc.) Since Eli was a major character and was supposed to be compelling, I thought hiding so much of the character’s development was a misstep. There was a ton of stuff that could have been done to make Eli and the movie, much more interesting. I also didn’t see Oskar’s character expanding too much and there was more meat there I would have liked to see develop.

Still, it was a very enjoyable, tough to pigeonhole movie that I would have no problem recommending.

This was my favorite film of last year.

[Spoiler]Lacke’s briefcase contained his father’s stamp collection. He takes out one of the stamp’s and talks about how much it is worth at Virginia’s hospital bedside.

It seems unlikely that Oskar will become Eli’s next food provider. To me, the film shows that he is incapable of killing Lacke even when Lacke is in the bathroom threatening to kill Eli. After Eli takes care of Lacke, the director shows Oskar dropping his knife, implying that he doesn’t really have the will for murder. It seems unlikely he would be a good food provider for Eli. He is a timid, skinny 12 year-old, after all.

Although the film doesn’t tell us, the book reveals that Eli met Hakan (her companion) only a short time before the story starts. He is a disgraced former school teacher who is a pedophile.

My interpretation is that the relationship between Eli and Oskar is nothing like that of her and Hakan. Everything about the way she treats Hakan and Oskar is different. I believe Oskar is the first true friend Eli has made in 200 years. There is a genuine connection between them. That Eli came back, at great risk to herself, to save Oskar implies a commitment on her part that is unexpected and touching.[/Spoiler]

This is one of the things I liked about this movie. These are questions that do not have apparent answers. The movie leaves you with a lot to churn over in your mind after you have seen it.

I loved so much about the movie. They leave out so many vampire cliches. They don’t even show fangs in the movie. The characters are rich. The cinematography was terrific. The girl’s performance was great. My favorite of her moments was when we see the look of terror on her face after Oskar cuts his hand. It was critical moment in the film, but it was handled very subtly.

The thing you randwill noted about [spoiler]how in the book, Eli had just met the old man a few months before** certainly makes the plot look very different than what I had supposed. But looking at the movie independently of the book, it does seem clearly to portray Oskar as just another in a long line of hunters/partners. Sure Oskar hasn’t been able to kill yet, but he’s definitely shown a desire to kill so it seems likely all it will take is opportunity and practice. Eli’s actions seemed clearly to be designed to make Oskar feel both grateful and dependent, and to make him measure his own value by the value she appears to place on him.

Thanks for the answers and input everyone.
randwill, I like your interpretation. Taking the movie at face value (ignoring the truth about Hakan in the book) I was kind of led to believe that Hakan was just another Oskar, 40 years on. I thought Oskar would ultimately suffer the same fate as Hakan in one day growing old and seeing Eli find a new young boy (remember that scene where Hakan asks Eli not to meet Oskar?). It was very poignant but also sad. It’s much better to think that Oskar has something new, a much deeper connection. I’m curious how their relationship change in the future though. I think they’ll go their separate ways once Oskar is older. I agree with Hamlet that making Eli a little more understandable would have been better.

But did she seduce Oskar? “I am not a girl” and “we can’t be friends” are not great enticements.

I think she was certainly a seductress, even if actual sex wasn’t involved. The way she took her clothes off before getting into bed with him was very provocative. But she also had a vulnerable side, and seemed to need his friendship as much as he needed hers. In the end though, I felt Oskar would probably meet the same fate as the first guy.

There is much in the film that is open to each viewer’s interpretation. I think it is a testament to the richness of this movie that it provokes so much commentary and speculation by its audience. Not only do those who enjoyed the film really want to know what happens next, but this film seems to stay with you a lot longer and more intensely than other films.

It’s not only the best film I saw last year, it’s the best film I’ve seen in several years.

The DVD defaults to the English language dub which is terrible! I mean really terrible. You have to go into Set Up and select the original Swedish soundtrack and the English subtitles if you want to see the movie that the actors and the director made.

Also, note, the English subtitles on the initial pressings of the DVD have been altered (dumbed down) from the original theatrical subtitles to the detriment of the film. Lines are changed, meaning and subtleties are lost and some things are just plan wrong. ( Hakan’s last word, “Eli” is translated to “I’m trapped”, WTF?) My advice, wait a few months for Magnolia to re-release “Let the Right One In”, as they have stated they will, with the original theatrical subtitles, which will be specified on the back of the box as such.

Google is your friend! (Some kind Doper whom I dis-remember created this handy-dandy custom search for the SDMB.)

Previous threads on the book/movie:

Let the Right One In (no spoilers)

They’re going to REMAKE “Let The Right One In”???

Eli is pretty inscrutable in the book too (apparently the “big reveal” was deliberately underplayed and the backstory cut for reasons of time). As to the pacing, I think that’s kind of a side-effect of the matter-of-factness; sometimes you’re just following the characters around as they do not a hell of a lot, sometimes people are being slaughtered right and left.

I have to say that I couldn’t disagree with Hamlet’s criticisms more. I think the mystery surrounding Eli is one of the film’s greatest strengths.

My question is what was up with…

… the scene with Oskar and his dad when his dad’s friend comes over. What was the point of that? My only wild-ass guess was that this told us that Oskar’s father is gay, and a friend of mine came to the same conclusion independently, but that doesn’t sound right.

The director has stated that he thinks it is odd that so many American viewers see a homosexual subtext in that scene. It is not what he and the author had in mind. The scene’s purpose is to show how easily Oskar’s father can be pulled away from his obligation to his son by alcohol. No doubt a contributing factor in his divorce from Oskar’s Mom.

I think the creepy demeanor of the visiting neighbor contributes to this impression, but there’s no gay there either in the movie or the book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

[spoiler]do you think Oskar will become the next hitman/blood gatherer for Eli?

I definitely felt that that was what was implied by the last scene – even if he was hesitant before, he’s made that decision out of love.

Did Eli pick up the first man in the same way–by befriending him as a boy?

That’s what I took from the film, and felt the ending confirmed this. It was an amazing way of justifying that horrific opening scene, if only slightly. Haven’t read the book, though I’m not sure if that should make a difference to audiences’ interpretation – maybe that’s a film studies question.

And what the heck was with the crotch shot of Eli?

According to a poster up ahead, ‘she’ used to be a he, according to the book. Didn’t know that, and they certainly could have made it clearer (‘I’m not a girl’ could just mean ‘I’m an old woman/vampire’). I thought it showed that she was bit herself, as a girl, by someone who also had sexual intentions towards her. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]What happens after the movie is over happens in the viewer’s imagination, so it’s up to you. At least until John Lindqvist (the book’s author) publishes his promised short story sequel. But any movie that leaves so many viewer’s pondering this has done a good job at snaring your imagination and making you care about the characters, don’t you think?

The movie doesn’t tell us how Eli and Hakan (the man she’s with at the beginning) hook up. The book tells us that Eli met him shortly before the story began, so they did not meet when Hakan was a boy.

The crotch shot was a shout-out to an aspect of the story that is explained in much more detail in the book. Eli was born a male, named Elias. Two hundred years ago, at age 12, he was castrated and bitten in a ritual by a Nobleman vampire who ruled over the village he lived in. Eli describes him/herself in the book as, ‘nothing’. Not a boy, not a girl. Nothing. Being as he was castrated before puberty, this makes sense. We can speculate that he presents himself as a female for expedience sake as a little girl might appear more innocent and needy than a boy.

I think that the quick shot probably does more to confuse viewers than any good it might do the film. A flashback depicting the castration scene was planned to go at the point where Eli (with the blood still on her face) tells Oskar to, “Be me a little” and Oskar closes his eyes. But the scene was never shot and the crotch shot should probably have been deleted as well. Perhaps it does serve the purpose of sending viewers looking for answers in the book. Or maybe most viewers don’t notice the scar and assume it’s just about Oskar’s natural curiosity.

In the book, Eli kisses Oskar three or four times and each time this happens, Oskar sees a moment from Eli’s past through her eyes, including the vampire-making ceremony I described above. Although I liked the movie better than the book, it was fun to read some additional and expanded scenes between Eli and Oskar. If you loved the movie, you’ll want to read the book to feed your head some more of this captivating story. [/spoiler]

I think I may not have been clear. I’m not against mystery, or against the viewer/reader having to make their own decisions about what happens next. I’m against, in this movie, the lack of evidence for us to draw our own conclusions. The filmmaker’s decision to cut out Eli’s backstory, to hide Eli’s gender, to leave off details about Hakan, and other things, make Eli a much less compelling character, and, to me, makes the relationship between Eli and Oskar and Oskar’s character, much less compelling also.

The story, at its core, is not about vampires, it’s about Oskar and Eli and their relationship as it develops. And, on that front, the lack of information for the viewer about Eli, makes it harder to connect with her and with Oskar’s relationship with her.

As I said, it wasn’t a big deal, I still like the film a lot. It just, in my opinion, could have been better by including more about Eli and her relationships with others and less about Oskar’s father’s neighbor, or Oskar’s penchant for having cold snot coming out his nose. It was a very good, but too sparse, film, that could have used some of the richness of (what it sounds like) the book.

I just saw this last night and reading all the extra info above sure does put another spin on the movie for me, especially everything about Eli’s past.

I did have one question though, I don’t think it really needs to be hidden in a spoiler box, but I’ll throw it in anyway.

When Eli wanted to enter Oskar’s apartment and Oskar did not specifically invite her in, why would it have affected her the way it did? Oskar already invited her in once before, so isn’t she cleared to cross the threshold?