Movie Review: Let the Right One In (2008)

Good afternoon, my friends. Or good whatever-fucking-time-it-is-when-you-read-this. Either way, time for another Summer of the Swedes entry.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Let the Right One In” (Original title: Låt den rätte komma in).

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) doesn’t have it easy. He tries to just live his life, which is made harder at every turn by some other boys who bully him. But one day on a chilly winter night, he meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), a weird and mysterious girl that he soon starts befriending, which will change his life in a major way. Initial setup sounds a tad similar to “We Can Be Heroes!”, which I reviewed a week or so ago. But in execution it’s very different. Instead of being a lighthearted and funny story about outcasts who learn to follow their dreams, this is a slowly burning, somber affair that incorporates elements of existentialism and of course also the supernatural. And I found it to be utterly fucking engaging. Some people might hate the slow pace of it, in combination with the lack of scares (since it’s technically a horror movie)… but for me it just really clicked in an emotionally engaging way.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and overall just really interesting. Something about the characters here just feels real to me, at least more so than many movies I’ve seen recently. And while some of the kid actors here aren’t necessarily great, they do still sell their performances pretty well. Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Patrik Rydmark, they all do well. And the adult actors like Per Ragnar and Karin Bergquist all do really well in their roles. It’s a well rounded cast.

The score for the movie was composed by Johan Söderqvist, and I think he did a really good job with it. It’s a somber affair, helping create this electrifying, almost dreamlike vibe for the movie. It helps create a deeper emotional connection between the viewer, really adding a lot to the atmosphere of the movie.

Based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the script for “Let the Right One In” was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, with Tomas Alfredson serving as director. The craft here is generally really good. Alfredson really knows how to make scenes feel both warmly engaging and weirdly unsettling. He also knows what to show, when to show it, and how long to show it. There is some genuinely disturbing imagery at times, and Alfredson does an excellent job in its usage. And the cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema is really good as well, giving the movie a unique and stunning look that adds so much to the atmosphere.

This film has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Let the Right One In” is an excellent little horror-drama. It has a great plot, great characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Let the Right One In” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Let the Right One In” is now completed.

Finally, a great movie in this series of mine.

Movie Review: Dunkirk (2017)

As a self-proclaimed fan of this director, you’d have thought I’d gotten to this movie sooner. But sometimes life is a bit more unpredictable than that, Skipper.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Dunkirk”.

1940, World War 2 is going on. British, French, and Belgian forces have been surrounded by the Germans, stuck on the beaches of Dunkirk. And we follow people on the various fronts as they try to sort this situation out or simply survive. Simple setup, good setup… but there’s something about the overall narrative that just didn’t fully click for me. I wasn’t ever bored, and I was invested in what was going on… so why didn’t it ever click fully for me? It’s so close to reaching the greatness status, and yet something feels like it’s missing. There are some fucking terrific moments of tension and drama throughout, and they are really effective. But there’s something about the connecting thread that just never crossed that final line for me. Again, the plot here is pretty good, if not quite on the level it could be.

This movie doesn’t exactly have the deepest characters ever, but I still knew enough about them that I could at least somewhat care about them as chaos happened around them. Sure, I couldn’t really tell you anything about them, but I could still see them, recognize them, and know who they were in relation to the narrative (the soldier boy, the boatman, the pilot, etc.). But what I can say is that all the actors are terrific in their respective roles. Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Tom Hardy, James Bloor, Mark Rylance, Barry Koeghan, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and many more, they all did a great job.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, and mother of god, this man can do no wrong. His score has a way of generating genuine suspense, blending ear-grinding strings, heavy brass, ominous synthesizers, and even a ticking clock. The score maintains a rising sense tension throughout, and it’s simply spectacular.

“Dunkirk” was written and directed by Christopher Nolan, one of my favorite directors. And he did a damn job with it all. While Zimmer’s score carried a lot of weight in terms of building suspense, Nolan of course brought a lot to that too, with a lot of clever camerawork that really made the soldier just feel small, like they’re just a minor cog in the machinery of war… like they could be taken out all of a sudden, which creates some really good tension. And when combined with Hoyte van Hoytema’s amazing cinematography, you get some truly breathtaking sequences.

This movie has been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 94/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 3 Oscars in the categories of Best film editing, Best sound editing, and Best sound mixing. It was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, Best cinematography, Best original score, and Best production design.

While I don’t really love it as much as a lot of people, I still think “Dunkirk” is a damn fine movie. It has a pretty good plot, okay characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Dunkirk” is an 8,62/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Dunkirk” is now completed.

Am I gonna get in trouble for not giving this movie a perfect score? Should I barricade my house?

Movie Review: Ad Astra (2019)

Space, the final frontie- Hold on, this isn’t “Star Trek”. This is something else… so let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ad Astra”.

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) must go on a potentially dangerous mission across the stars to try to uncover the truth behind what happened to his space-traveling father many years ago. And before you get too many assumptions, I have to tell you that this isn’t really that kind of space adventure. Don’t expect “Star Wars”. This is a slowly burning character study that will test the patience of some viewers. That’s not to say that there aren’t exciting bits in this movie, there are. But the more action-packed stuff is less of a priority here, making way for the slow burn drama. And I found it quite engaging. It’s not my favorite space drama, that crown still goes to “Moon”, but I still thought the plot of “Ad Astra” was very good.

There’s really only one character worth talking about here, and that is Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt. He’s shut off his emotional as a response of something that happened in his past. Which makes him a very reserved individual, not letting a lot of people in. And he goes through quite an interesting arc in this movie, making him quite a nuanced character. And Pitt is fantastic in the role. Yes, it’s a very subdued performance, but you can read so much just from eyes. And there are some damn solid supporting players here too.

The score for the movie was composed by Max Richter, and my god, it was fantastic. It often has a very dreamlike quality that perfectly complements Roy’s personal solitude, in combination with the desolation that we call space. Synths, strings, some piano, these are just some of the elements that get blended quite wonderfully to create the mesmerizing score.

“Ad Astra” was written by James Gray and Ethan Gross, with Gray handling direction. Gray’s direction manages to be both sweeping and intimate, really giving us some impressive vistas in combination with the tightness to Pitt’s McBride. His direction manages to generate a decent bit of emotion, making me care. Then it also builds some pretty good suspense in parts. And let’s talk about Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography, which is some of the most stunning I have ever seen, taking my breath away at many points. Seriously, the craft in this movie is meticulous.

This movie just came out, so scores may change. But so far it has been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Ad Astra” isn’t for everyone… but I thought it was great. It has a really good plot, a really good central character, great performances, fantastic music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Ad Astra” is a 9,62/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Ad Astra” is now completed.

Ad Astra is about Brad Astra seeking his Dad Astra. The movie’s not Bad Astra, in fact it’s quite Rad Astra, which makes me very Glad Astra.