The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and
television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality
for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews
that are positive for a given film or television show.
From the Critics
From RT Users Like You!
The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
The Tomatometer is 75% or higher, with 40 reviews (movies) or 20 reviews (TV). At least 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
"Where is it that we were together? Who were you that I lived with? The brother. The friend. Darkness, light. Strife and love. Are they the workings of one mind? The features of the same face? Oh, my soul. Let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. L
Favorite Scene From A Movie
In "Adaptation," when Robert McKee spews a harsh critique of Charlie Kaufman's story. In "Y Tu Mama Tambien," when Ana Morelos dances on her way back from the jukebox, looking at the camera the whole time. In "Children of Men," when Theo's car is ambushed and he kicks the motorcyclists off.
The Thin Red Line, M*A*S*H, The Social Network, Fargo, The Shining, Magnolia
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel Day Lewis, J.K. Simmons, Jodie Foster
Robert Altman, Terrence Malick, Paul Thomas Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Coen Brothers, Bong Joon-ho
I will admit I left my theatre seat absolutely giddy with excitement. Did the totem stop? Did it keep spinning? I swear it stopped! But did it? Damn you, Nolan!
I cannot tell you the last time I left the cinema wanting to discuss a movie as fervently as this one. I'm sure most of you all had the exact same aphasia feeling I did where all one can do is splutter and exhale and hyperventilate to the point of lungs collapsing or an embarrassing episode of public flatulence ensues. Which I assure you did not happen. I assure you.
"Inception," directed by Christopher "Noir" Nolan, is about dreams. But you knew that much. What you don't know is what I don't know. Or, for that matter, what we all don't know. And I guess Nolan is the only one who really "knows" per se, which qualifies him as a sadistic bastard. And a talented one at that.
Of course I don't really hate Nolan. I just think he should "BURN IN HELL!" as Sam L. Jackson puts it nicely. I'm kidding again. Enough with this goop, though. Let's get to the movie.
Dom Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, works in dreams. That's his day job. While Cobb snoozes in a La-Z-Boy armrest, constructing elaborate dream worlds in exotic locales, the rest of us find small pleasure by the water cooler. Yep. Sorry for the brutal reminder.
But Cobb chooses not to construct these dreams anymore because the memory of his dead wife (Marion Cotillard) still lingers in them (specifically, his subconscious), which poses a threat to all who inhabit Cobb's dreamscape. In dreams, people can actually feel pain. Death is always preferable than a bullet to the leg, as one of Cobb's colleagues finds out. In fact, a death in the dream world merely wakes the dreamer up. So no worries, right?
Wrong. Nolan pours on us loads and loads of his own fabricated dream logic. And it's pretty astonishing how much this guy has thought about his REM sleep. From dreams within dreams within other dreams, the layers keep piling on and eventually we just have to trust the man with the whole procedure.
And procedure is the key word here. Nolan has always been a procedural filmmaker, in that rules are constructed solely as a device to hinder or push the story's characters into taking the most logical route of action. No one does this better than Nolan. But that's not necessarily a great thing. It is a good thing, though. Even while Dom Cobb penetrates deeper and deeper into the dream world, there is still an invisible thread leading back up high to Nolan's lofty hand. He knows what he is doing and, yes, he gets us back up there safe and sound.
But that is the problem I have with this film. It is safe and sound. Yes, others will argue it ends without true conclusion. Well, there are only two conclusions. Either A) he's still dreaming or B) he's awake. I have my opinion, but it doesn't matter. Both conclusions don't satisfy me. Though the totem ending definitely thrilled me (and the whole theatre), who were these kids really? Who was Dom Cobb? He's a fantastic dream engineer, but was he a great father? Was he worth caring about? Since when are dreams enslaved by our own commands? Why should a dream be limited by architecture and "kicks" and snowy vistas? Yes, these were quite entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed progressing deeper into Nolan's mad, yet restrained world of dreams. But this was not the Freudian id I had hoped for. While the taut editing culminates into a suspenseful, "get back to ze chopper!" mission to the real world above, what did it even matter about the dream world below?
It will be probably be years before the public finally grasps "Inception" in its entirety. I have seen it twice now, and I came out even more confused the second time than I did the first. I do admire, though, how Nolan has implanted his own dream logic rules here and there, such as events in one dreamscape affecting the dream below it (i.e. bathtub leading to building flood). Also, he once again delivers a stimulating non-linear narrative that keeps us viewers on our toes. In this way, it becomes a challenge to follow the story. And I like a good challenge. I also applaud the acting, which is sensational by some and decent by others. Tom Hardy is hilariously whimsical as Eames, a "forger" who acts as doppelganger to a dying tycoon's right hand man. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobb's pointman Arthur is a cool-headed debonair with a knack for thinking out of the box.
And then there is Marion Cotillard. My, my, my. As Cobb's lingering memory of his dead wife, she disturbs this film with the paranoia it desperately needed more of. Cotillard is absolutely haunting and there were moments in here where her horrifying eyes completely floored me. During my viewing, I was asking myself why haven't they made a horror/thriller film about this woman's eyes!? All I know is this: it will be a long time before I can rid myself of her face, staring up at me through the elevator shaft. Those white eyes burning intensely....
"Inception" is a fantastic blockbuster and well worth the money spent. But I'm a man who prefers characters rather than spectacle and values genuine emotional depth over procedural depth. For this reason, "Insomnia" and "The Prestige" remain my favorite Nolan movies so far. And I wanted more madness in these dreams. Take a page from Lynch, perhaps. We can all learn from the man's demented mind. It wouldn't hurt to give us something we don't understand. Or that we'll never truly decipher. Somehow, I think the secrets of "Inception" will be unraveled soon enough. No flatulence required. Hopefully.
pastiche /pas-tesh/ n.
1. A literary, artistic, musical, or architectural work that imitates the style of previous work.
2. Any piece of film seen by the eyes of Quentin Tarantino that has been revived in a bloodier, funnier way with the sole purpose of eliciting "wtf!" reactions from viewers - Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary (and me)
Kill Bill: Volume 1 satisfies this definition. Tarantino's 4th film is bloodier, funnier, and sexier than all the source material it not just sips from, but gobbles wholeheartedly. Those with high blood pressure should be weary. This is one hell of a film.
We begin in black and white. A bride, bruised and bleeding, fixes us with eyes of terror. Her breathing is sharp. Her lips are cut. Her cheeks are ripped. All around her, the ones she invited to her wedding are dead. Fiance included. A final plea before a man named Bill shoots a bullet into her skull, silencing her. But she is not dead yet...
The Bride, as she is lovingly labeled, wakes up four years after the massacre. She groans like a pathetic animal, clutching her thinned abdomen where a baby once rested. Her awakening, and the violence her first few conscious minutes bring, tells us exactly how merciless this woman is going to be for the rest of the film. We can imagine a Vegas billboard in her mind, flashing "REVENGE. REVENGE. REVENGE" nonstop. For her, killing Bill becomes a greater priority than food and water. As it rightly should. This man ruined everything she had. He needs to die.
The Bride has a history with Bill. Beneath the veil, she's one of the deadliest women in the world. Perhaps the deadliest. Once a member of the lethal Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS), our femme fatale left behind her bloody profession to pursue a happy, married life. Bill, the leader of DiVAS, wouldn't let her off so easily.
This film is about her path of revenge. The Bride, with the help of a very skilled swordmaker, brandishes her samurai sword - a custom made Hattori Hanzo - and begins cutting up baddies left and right. She makes mince meat of full grown men. It's the women she has to worry about. The DiVAS are her targets. Each member has a story and we learn their background and how they came to be so deadly. In Volume 1, it is all about The Bride, a foxy mama with a butcher knife, and a white-robed Japanese-American crime lord whose placid face masks a brutal penchant for slicing men into geometrical shapes. Why Vernita Green (Vivica Fox), the mom with a butcher knife, was allowed to be a mother when The Bride was not is never explained. The crime lord is O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) and her fortress of sin is a formal invite for The Bride (Uma Thurman) to spotlight her skills.
What follows is pure carnage of a scale that cannot be measured on blood alone. We are talking about piles and piles of limbs, heads, ears, tongues, and other flying appendages. I did not find it grotesque because I knew what to expect. And because it was everywhere. All the time. In my face. I guess this is what we call "dehumanization." In another film, I would be disgusted and repulsed by this loose exploitation of mangling and murder. Not here, although some would strongly disagree with me.
Quentin Tarantino. His name should be enough. I know you've heard of him. His effect on recent cinema cannot be understated. Whether you love him or hate him, his name is now gold. The man loves violence, cool men, strong women, snarky dialogue, and especially the medium of film itself. It could be said his movies are more about him and his love for film than anything else. His movies are like Jackson Pollock paintings on steroids and crack cocaine. He throws everything in and the result is often highly entertaining. Kill Bill is no different.
Dialogue takes a back seat here to bloodletting and packed references to Tarantino's favorite action movies of the 70s and 80s. I am not as well-versed in the man's steep knowledge from this era, and so many of these supposed references passed me by. I was just having way too much fun to really care. At one point, The Bride singlehandedly paints a nightclub floor red. Without a brush. Or paint for that matter.
It could be called an effort of dehumanization. By that, I mean there is no emotional response when someone dies, even though there should be. I felt nothing for these characters dying. Was I supposed to? I don't think so. They're mostly enemies, donning black eye masks, who charge with stupid abandon to their death. They're caricatures more than they are real people. So I felt nothing for them.
But I liked The Bride. Much like The Man with No Name or Kurosawa's Sanjurro, The Bride is a tongue-in-cheek revival of the Western archetypal protagonist. Except Tarantino has now rooted her squarely in an Eastern culture. She's beautiful and a bit more talkative than her male predecessors. But no less deadly. In fact, I'd say she's much deadlier than Eastwood or Mifune.
What this film has in perfect excess of guts and gore, it lacks in dialogue. Tarantino is a very good writer and he purposely limits these characters' lines to snarky cheese. Still, I wanted more. I wanted something equivalent to the opening scene of Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, or Inglourious Bastards. Where the dialogue lives and breathes and belches.
But the action is exceptional. Tarantino's precise editing and great direction give us some high octane fights. The pitch perfect soundtrack stamps a classic status onto these fights. The 5,6,7,8's "Woo hoo" ditty in O-Ren Ishii's nightclub fills a long tracking shot with the life of the party, right before The Bride tears the life down with her blade. Bernard Hermann's "Twisted Nerve" is rejuvenated in full whistling glory by a threatening, eye-patched bringer of death. And Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang" is a most haunting ode to the dying Western. Tarantino fuses beautiful music with kinetic fight sequences so effortlessly that it's tough not to get caught in his brutal, bloody web of charm. Tarantino knows he is killing a bunch of people in disgusting ways. He knows it might offend the audience. But the score is there as a solace to the death. Not an apology, but a disclaimer that this is about vengeance. And many will die in that path.
In Volume 1, no one is spared of The Bride's revenge. And no one is beyond Tarantino's reach. Swords and spiked balls fillet the screen until all that's left is a bleeding pulpy mess of O-Ren Ishii's henchmen. But the Bride is not finished. Killing Bill will take some time. That's where Volume 2 comes in.
A brittle, elderly mother speaks these words with a wild-eyed ferocity, each word hissing with maternal venom. Her son is a top murder suspect in the killing of a teen girl. And she is defending his innocence. To the family. Of that deceased girl. This is sheer nerve. This is Mother.
"Mother," directed by Bong Joon-ho, begins not with a murder, but a dance. The dance is eerie, humorous, and quite out of place. Dancing is expression, movement, a means of conveying the inner spirit. It is a process of taking something from within and getting it out.
Next comes the murder. A body is strangely displayed atop a stone balcony, the "same way one might display a flag," one man fumes. The murder catalyzes an investigation and a prime suspect is quickly tagged. The suspect, a mentally handicapped man, is easy to convince. He tells the police what they want him to tell them: that he did it. Of course, that suspect has a mother. She will be more difficult....
Fans of Hitchcock's "Psycho" will register the film's title on a deeper level. In fact, this is interesting: the English words "mother" and "murder" are both spelled the same when translated to Korean characters: Madeo. But this is a real mother, not some split personality of Bates' psychotic delusion. She is old, downtrodden, small, poor, and very concerned with her son. That last bit implies a seething wrath that no man can extinguish. God help the human soul who gets between this Mother and her son.
Let me just say that, once again, Bong Joon-ho delivers a bizarre film to his bizarre repertoire. And no one does it better than he does. The zaniness of this character-driven thriller will keep you elated and on the edge of your seat. It is not really a scary movie. But it is perturbing. And you will be stimulated. This is no formula murder mystery; we are being led the whole time by a very clever hand. However, even though I described it as zany, that does not occlude it from being a serious film. It is very serious. And funny. And strange. But serious for its blistering presentation of a mother's anguish.
We have a very desperate mother trying everything she can to save her son from conviction. She is very close to him. Too close. They live together, eat together, sleep together. At one point, she even watches him urinate on the side of a street to make sure everything is fine. If my mother did that, well, we'd have counseling. The whole world is against this woman. Everyone knows her son did it and those who don't know don't care. The case is closed, they say. Go home.
"Oh, HELL to the NO you did not just say that!" she retorts. Well, she says it a little differently.
She is only Mother. We never receive her first name. Somehow Joon-ho manages the relational label all the way through without it sounding contrived. So that is what she is. Mother. Her whole identity, then, depends on her son's existence. What will she become if they take him away? The notion is unthinkable.
There are some very memorable scenes here. A hilarious golf brawl scene joins an emerging pattern in Joon-ho's films where chaotic forces collide and erupt in the most unlikely of places: at a tear-soaked funeral visitation in "The Host"; a wooden 2x4 war at a spicy Korean restaurant in "Memories of Murder"; and another loopy crime investigative scene in "MoM's" opening minutes. The director apparently likes people falling down and making fools of themselves. And so do I.
Another absolutely hilarious scene involved a busy-bodied criminal attorney who Mother has hired to defend her son. A faint tune of Beethoven's IV goes off and the attorney slowly, dramatically takes a few paces backward while Mother and son watch. Suddenly, he answers his phone, and that is it. It's so impromptu and quirky that it had me in tears. And we're talking about a murder mystery here.
The fact that there's room to laugh at times and cry in others and be revolted still in others is a testament to Joon-ho's filmmaking dexterity. He gives us a taste of the absurd and grotesque in what is a taut thriller Hitchcock himself would be pleased to watch. There is a mirror scene in the jail cell that whiffs of Welles (and which has been most recently imitated by Ellen Page in "Inception"), an immediate and in-yo-face shot-reverse shot that could have been filled by FBI trainee Clarise Starling, and finally the golfing scene that smells of Scorsese's Goodfellas with a hint of Caddyshack. Most likely, Bong Joon-ho has never seen Caddyshack. But the scene is of a universal frenzy that we can all relate to, having played golf or not.
Kim Hye-ja is frightening and cute. Have those two words ever been applied to the same person, let alone in the same sentence? Yet she is. Her determination in finding the true killer is relentless and animalistic. She will stop at nothing. Nothing. But I couldn't help sympathize for her, standing out in a heavy downpour, her rain jacket concealing all but her pitiful face. But she is always so in control of this performance. There is unbelievable command in this old actress and it drives the film onward to its unpredictable end.
You will keep guessing. And then go "Aha!" And then be wrong again. Bong Joon-ho's films have a knack for leading us to places we did not expect. There is energy in the mystery. And there is a terrible secret in the answer. The dancing will make sense in the end. In the end, a Greek tragedy hides in comedy. And takes the form of a bolero.
In a sentence, "Up in the Air" is a slow film with great acting, sympathetic characters, contemplative moments, some dry laughs, and a message relevant to our time of economic constipation.
That may sound hollow, but its themes are not. Watching the film, I was reminded of Sophia Coppola's mood piece "Lost In Translation." Both of these films spotlight the intricacies of human relationships against environments that are either alien in nature ("Translation") or constantly changing ("Air"). This search for a permanence among two people who must constantly migrate (in different directions) fires the friction that draws us in.
"Up in the Air" is Jason Reitman's third feature film after 2005′s "Thank You for Smoking" (which I have not seen) and 2007′s "Juno" (which I have seen). Having seen the latter, and only speculating on the former's reputation as a comedy, "Up in the Air" is Reitman's most serious departure yet. While it provides some barbed wit here and there, the film mostly tackles the murky subjects of business-employee loyalty, career purpose, and marital commitment.
Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, is a working man who fires other working men and women. He works for a company that helps recently fired individuals "transition" from one job to the next. They provide a pamphlet with advice, but that is about all; mostly, they fire people. Bingham's job requires him to fly somewhere every day and fire someone every day because some employers just don't have the spine to do it themselves. This role was made for Clooney, who embodies Bingham as a cool and confident businessman, able to emotionally detach himself from the unenviable task of wrecking people's professional lives. But, though he is detached, Bingham still retains a sympathetic presence among the men and women he must let go. At one point in the film, a fired employee asks Bingham "how he even lives with himself." Surely, he must have nightmares. Surely, he must live a hellish life. And all Bingham can do is sit and stare back into that person's eyes, letting silence take control of the conversation. With cautious delivery, he plays the enemy. With silent patience, he plays the consoler. But never does he reach out to hug or touch his victims. He plays it by the textbook, and keeps his sympathies only in silence.
But Bingham loves what he does, more specifically his nomadic lifestyle. For 270 days a year, Bingham is up in the air, flying from city to city, terminal to terminal. The man does not even have a place to call home, except for an empty apartment in Omaha, which he hates. He is not close to his family, and does not really have any friends. Bingham is perfectly content to see everyone as an acquaintance. Perhaps Bingham loves the air so much because it keeps him from being grounded in the personal stickiness and potential drama of human relationships. We never learn enough about his past, but we can suspect something ruined his faith in the model of honest friendship.
Then comes along Natalie Keener, a highly arrogant, highly motivated Ivy League grad student with a plan to revolutionize the way Bingham's company fires employees. Keener, played by Anna Kendrick, advocates a technology that will enable "terminations" over an online visual computer display. This does not fly with Bingham, who prefers the more personal and traditional method of firing employees in the same office. Their boss, played by Jason Bateman, compromises by sending them both across the U.S. to test both methods of firing. This pairing gives the film great character contrasts, and we can't help but laugh when Keener struggles to comprehend Bingham's views toward marriage:
"Never?" -- Keener
"No." -- Bingham
"You never want to get married?" -- Keener
"Nope." -- Bingham
"Never want kids?" -- Keener
"Not a chance." -- Bingham
"Never!?" -- Keener
But the appearance of fellow frequent flier Alex Goran complicates Bingham's views on love. As their relationship extends beyond the bedroom, Bingham and Goran, played by Vera Farmiga, coordinate their destinations so they can see each other more often. Could this be the beginning of a relationship? Natalie Keener says yes. Ryan Bingham says no. But, perhaps, he reasons, this Keener girl could be right...
As the trio develop their relationships across many cities, Reitman shows us great birds-eye images of the diverse American landscape. He takes us slowly through their chemistry and reveals what each character has to offer: Bingham plays mentor to the younger Keener, who reversely serves as a wakeup call to Bingham. Goran fulfills Bingham's sexual need, yet also becomes Keener's model of "herself in fifteen years." Reitman has carefully designed each character to stand on their own, with virtues and vices.
I said earlier that this film was more serious than Reitman's past films. I have heard that some of the characters that Bingham fires are actually real-life victims of the economy. They are not even acting. Their anger and confusion and bitterness all stem from cold reality. On the screen, they are entirely convincing, and it is heartbreaking to watch their faces stare dejectedly back at Bingham and back at us. Some of them are actors, however, and it is worth noting a great cameo performance by Zach Galifianakis, who leaves us questioning whether to laugh or sympathize with his character's predicament. Reitman makes both choices possible.
"Juno" was a better film, if you really must know. But "Juno" was also a very good, very funny film. "Up in the Air" is still funny, but the humor is dampened by the issues at hand. It is a harder venture than "Juno," which sustained much of its hilarity through the biting sarcasm of Ellen Page. As Juno, Page earned every bit of her Oscar nomination. In "Up in the Air," I can sense Reitman has tried to duplicate that girlish cynicism in the character of Natalie Keener. Although Anna Kendrick garnered an Oscar nomination as well, I do not believe her performance was so worthy. She is quick-thinking and intelligently vicious, but there are some scenes where her character's credibility crumbles. In particular, I am thinking of a teary meltdown in the airport, in which I did not believe those tears were earned.
But, I have to say it is a good film with fine acting (for the most part) by its leads and honest reflections from its fired employees. I am glad the film did not end predictably, but realistically. Reitman is smart, and he avoids the tempting poison of cliches. In "Up in the Air," we see these characters learn a great deal. We see them mature and take risks, and we see the blowback that comes from such risks. Finally, we leave them just as we leave those we meet in real life, knowing that nothing is finished, that some things are left unresolved, that perceptions change and harden and change again, and that enduring is a lot easier said than done.
It is a fact that vampires exist. Just look at Bernie Madoff.
I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. But, seriously now. Vampires might actually exist. Perhaps not the ones of fairy tales and folklore who transform into bats or erupt into flames if exposed to sunlight. No, not them. But is it not unreasonable to surmise, from out of the 6.7 billion people who walk our Earth each day, that one of them might possibly be a disturbed soul who craves blood? It is not a pleasant thing to consider, for sure. But we are forced to do just that in Tomas Alfredson's beautiful film "Let The Right One In."
Yes, there is a vampire at the root of this film. She is young, palely cute, and deadly when thirsty. Her name is Eli. Just try deceiving her with red Gatorade and she might bite your head off. She is small, but terrifying. Her lips are usually chapped. Is that because of the brutally unforgiving Swedish winter or could it be.... something else? Perhaps they are creases, forged out of a dark necessity. A bloody secret. I'm putting my faith in the latter.
Eli befriends Oskar, a blonde boy who can't help noticing Eli's mysterious aura. Oskar is the same ripe age of twelve. He is skinnier than most kids his age, and, as a result, bears the daily brunt of school bullies. Oskar faces these bullies with passive reticence. They will hurt him and that is inevitable. All he has is his dignity. He won't give them the satisfaction of tears. Nor will he tell on them. He is, therefore, half-brave. Part of him is too scared to fight back and part of him is brave enough to stand his ground.
One day, Oskar notices a man and his daughter moving in next door. The girl catches his attention. This is Eli. She is dark with a brooding demeanor, yet cold to the touch. And.... she smells funny. Oskar has no reservations in telling her this. Eli cleans herself up for Oskar and gets rid of the smell. Now Oskar's really interested in her. Both kids are on the threshold of puberty. Hormones shimmer in the cold winter air. Could this be love?
A murder complicates things. A bizarre murder. Two bite marks in the neck. This could have been an animal, one says. No, another says, I saw a girl do it. The murder escalates the tension of Eli's presence in the town. She must have blood or she will die. Complicated, indeed. We come to find that there is a monster brewing beneath her soft skin and beautiful eyes. And that monster needs to feed.
Eli and Oskar grow closer. Oskar is, at first, oblivious to Eli's vampirism. But he comes to find out. At the same time, Eli does not know what happens to Oskar during school hours. But she also finds out that he is being bullied. Hit back, she advises him. Hit back hard. Through her counsel, Oskar finds his bravery. And through his friendship, Eli unveils her humanity beneath the pale skin. She has been twelve for a very long time and it is never explained why her age is frozen. But, with Oskar's help, Eli finally acts her age. She comes to know the pleasures of youth. And, in these discoveries, we learn that Eli is not just a monster in a girl's body, but a beautiful human shackled by her biological condition. She does some disgusting things to other humans. But somehow we love her. Just like Oskar.
I love a director that takes his time. And lets the story move only when necessary. Alfredson sets the pacing with beautiful shots of a Swedish winter wonderland. Bare trees yawning beneath the downy snow. Architecture that glistens in the dark, cold night. Small, white flecks drifting from a black nowhere above to a black nowhere below. A fogged window and a shadow breathing smoke beyond. A hand against glass.
This is also a film where images stick with you. You will remember the last scene. And the first as well. Both for their grisly nature. Both for their stark beauty. This is a horror film, of course. It is a romance, but nothing gooey like vampire movies of late. I think you know which ones I am speaking of. No, this is not love at first sight. It may not even be love. And, more than likely, it may not work out in the long run. We do not know. But I am thrilled by its complications. So, on the one hand, there is romance.
And, on the other, we have horror. And there is definitely horror. Some scenes make full advantage of the sound we associate with vampirism. These sounds are very unsettling. Slurping, choking, the whining of a human being losing consciousness. And, ah. How could I forget? The roar. Eli is a little girl, but she makes some horrifying and guttural sounds when she's thirsty. And there is plenty of blood.
This is a film that transcends gore. Nothing is cut and dry. We probably shouldn't even like Oskar and Eli. And some may not like them after watching this. I did, though. Oskar is creepy, unresponsive at times, and harbors the pedigree of a future psychotic. Eli is, well, a vampire. Yet, they are two people deeply in need of love from a cold world that is not supplying it. Their motives may not be just or genteel, but their hearts are honestly attempting to find purity. Oskar and Eli are mirror images of each other, yet totally opposite. He is everything she is not, and vice versa. And through their unlikely friendship, Oskar and Eli find sustenance in themselves. To keep living in a world that has forgotten them. A sustenance borne not of blood, but devotion to another being - vampire or human.
**In the past few months since I've reviewed LTROI, I realized that this film is on a far higher scale than I originally gave it credit for. I just cannot get it out of my mind. It is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen and it wonderfully balances its complicated story's relationship with the horror of a vampire's necessary craving. The snow of the thick Swedish winter sets a hypnotic tone for what is one of the darkest, yet poignant, dramas of recent cinema. As of now, I say it is an absolute masterpiece. There is far more to this one than blood, young lovers, and cold weather. Far more.