Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Let Me In and The Social Network

Two of the best films so far this year came out on the same day: The Social Network and Let Me In. While TSN continues to rake in millions, sadly, Let Me In already appears to have dropped completely off the radar, not even finishing in the top 10 in its second week in theaters.

But I’m not here to complain about injustices, even considering that Let Me In is likely the best suspense/horror film to hit the silver screen in a couple years and, you know, it’s freaking Halloween.

In all fairness, my initial reaction to both of these films was to make a loud, rude noise with my mouth. I had already seen and fallen in love with Let the Right One In, the two-year-old Swedish film Let Me In is based on. I’m a firm believer that Americans should learn to read and watch a film at the same time, so these types of remakes rub me the wrong way.

It’s not me being a movie snob. It’s me wanting viewers to see the original work the way it was meant to be seen rather than the cheap, dumbed down cash-ins that usually come out of such projects.

As for The Social Network, knowing nothing more than the fact it was “about Facebook” just pissed me off. This time I was absolutely being a snob. I’m frustrated by how integral the site has become to our day to day lives, annoyed by my continued use of it due to how powerful a social tool it really is, and also just “done with it.” Facebook was cool, then everyone including our parents and younger siblings were using it, then it wasn’t cool anymore. It’s that simple.

Clearly, The Social Network is about far more than Facebook and, as far as both of these films are concerned, my initial reactions were absolutely unfounded.

Let Me In is beautifully shot, well acted and lovingly put together. It’s easy to see that director Matt Reeves not only understood what made the first movie so special, but also what made the novel that started it all so special to begin with.

Despite the violence and blood-letting, there is an oddly sweet love story at the heart of the film that resonates as loudly in the English version as it did in the original. The power of childhood fear, too, is explored and, dare I say it, shown more effectively this time around.

Fans of the original who have reservations concerning the remake should put those aside. By focusing on different aspects of the plot and using his own brand of storytelling, Reeves has created a film that easily stands on its own and entertains throughout.

As for The Social Network, as far as “quality films” go, I can’t think of a better movie I’ve seen this year.

From great performances and a razor sharp script to perfect pacing and construction, I’m hard-pressed to find anything I didn’t enjoy about this film.

I hate to use the word “Shakespearian,” but while Facebook is the common thread running through the film’s plot, what the movie is really about is a dynamic group of young men and women, their complex relationships and the alliances that must be forged and broken in order to build an empire, as well as the costs (personal, financial, emotional) that come with such a massive undertaking.

It’s a powerful bit of movie magic everyone should check out.

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