Film Reviews: Haywire, Dorian Gray, Let the Right One In

Last weekend on my day off, I spent some time watching a few movies while doing my research on the Borgias, some of which I actually wanted to talk about.  So, instead of a separate post for each movie, I’ll just combine the most noteworthy into one.

Haywire: 3/5 Stars

I went last Friday with my best friend to see this one, lured in by the promise of Michael Fassbender and a number of other actors I like.  Plus I figured it was about a powerful female agent and at the very least, I would be entertained.  And I was, but that was about as far as I got with this movie.  We’ll start with the good things.  First of all, the actors were all amazing, despite their limited parts.  Second, the style, which was a little weird at first, gradually grew on me, especially during the footchase scene, until I actually found myself enjoying it. 

Unfortunately, the style was not enough to carry the entire movie, and the actors took a second seat to Gina Carano, who can unfortunately only act about as good as the Rock could back when he was still going by “the Rock.”  Note, the Rock is a fairly decent actor now, so there is some hope that she’ll improve in the future.  In the meantime, she should probably stick to American Gladiators.  The other biggest issue was that the director was having some sort of visual love affair with her.  As a result, there were long, unnecessary shots of Gina running, Gina beating up characters with no real meaning to the story, and Gina fixing her hair.  Yes, there was an entire shot of her pulling her hair back with her hips jutted out.  I never pull my hair back like that.  Perhaps the biggest drawback, however, was that the main character seemed morally opposed to killing any mooks that came after her, but big name actors were always fair game.

Dorian Gray: 5/5 Stars

This movie will not get any awards for the most accurate portrayal of Oscar Wilde’s infamous novel, but it certainly was entertaining enough to earn 5 stars from me.  If Ben Barnes and Colin Firth are not enough of a draw to convince you to watch this adaptation, quite possibly nothing I say here is going to change your mind.  Yes, obviously things were changed, but they’re always changed when novels get adapted.  This movie focuses primarily on Dorian’s sex life, which, is not unappealing given that it’s Ben Barnes, and cuts out most of the subplots of the original novel.  However, this version is notable in that it is the only adaptation I have seen in which poor Basil gets any action.  That deserves at least one star in the rating.

Let The right one in: 5/5 stars

Out of all the movies I watched last week, some not even important enough to mention here, this one was the best in every possible aspect.  For those of you unfamiliar, Let The Right One In is a semi-sweet little tale of a boy and his vampire.  Oskar, bullied at school, befriends the new girl who only comes out to the playground at night, and she teaches him to stand up for himself.  There’s also an amazing subplot about some crazy cat dude and a victim of Eli’s, but it doesn’t take up much screen time.

The main focus of the film is the blossoming relationship between Oskar and Eli.  It’s charming and innocent despite the fact that both “children” are monsters in their own right.  Eli is actually a 200 year old vampire and Oskar is showing all the signs of growing up to be a serial killer because of the bullying he receives at school.  This movie has undergone a lot of criticism because of the brutality shown, especially towards the children, but I think some people just refuse to acknowledge the fact that this particular level of bullying is happening to children all over the world.

I would like to point out, I have only seen the Swedish version of the film and can never recommend the American remake as I believe no one should ever dignify that version by even thinking about watching it.  For one thing, the producer once stated that the reason he remade it was because big cities like Chicago and New York, and the journalists saw the original movie, but he wanted to bring it to a larger audience, like to people in Idaho and Pittsburgh.  He basically gave the implication that people in Idaho and Pittsburgh are too stupid and uncultured to ever watch a movie with subtitles, and while some people avoid subtitles like the plaque, you cannot generalize them into a certain area like that.  For instance, I’m from Pittsburgh, the Swedish version is now my favorite horror movie, and I have no intention of ever watching his crappy shot for shot remake, and not just because of his comments.

Spoilers: Eli’s backstory, hardly in the movie to begin with and only detailed in the book, was apparently considered too queer for America, and subsequently the biggest references to it were cut out of the American version.  Little vamp still makes allusions to the fact of her not being a girl, but in the American version it’s quite clear she’s talking about the fact that she’s a vampire: End Spoilers

Overall, it was a very sweet, if slightly disturbing movie, and I can’t highly recommend it enough.  And for anyone out there afraid of subtitles, the DVD does come with an English dub track.  It’s not spectacular, but it’s still better than the remake.

*All movie posters taken from Netflix, and clicking them will take you to the Netflix pages for each movie.

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