INNOCENCE DIES. ABBY DOESN’T.
12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is bullied in school, but finds strength and solace in his friendship with Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz), a peculiar girl who’s been 12 for ages. Purists may frown upon moving a vampiric, Swedish coming-of-age tale to New Mexico, but this remake of Let the Right One In (2008) comes very close to the original thanks to Cloverfield director Matt Reeves’s taut direction and respectful attitude. There are few changes; some of them tone down the story’s controversial aspects (and sense of humor), others contribute to a fresh take. Excellent performances by the young leads who make up the heart of this chilly, bloody film.
2010-U.S.-Sweden-Britain. 116 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Tobin Armbrust, Alex Brunner, Guy East, Donna Gigliotti, Carl Molinder, John Nordling, Simon Oakes. Written and directed by Matt Reeves. Novel: John Ajvide Lindqvist. Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee (Owen), Chloë Grace Moretz (Abby), Richard Jenkins (The Father), Elias Koteas, Cara Buono, Sasha Barrese.
Last word: “When I was first getting involved, someone was asking me what I would do with the story and I was talking about Americanizing the story and there’s been an idea about what Americanization means. There’s an assumption that immediately goes, ‘Oh, he’s going to take it and make it a big, stupid American film and destroy everything that’s great about this story!’ But what I was really talking about was an American context for the story and about detail and about taking a story that, in the book and also in the film, is so rooted in Sweden and finding the way the essence of that story works in an American context, in the ’80s of America and the idea of the Reagan America and the ‘Evil Empire.’ (Reeves, Moviefone)