We started the week with a short called Gasman directed by Lynne Ramsay. It’s apparently largely autobiographical, with the main character (named Lynne) played by the director’s own daughter (also named Lynne). I know, I know it’s like the Scottish version of Monty Python’s Bruces Philosophers Sketch. Gasman, with its ambiguous title (the father’s profession is never revealed) follows a pretty bad day in the life of Lynne Ramsay.
Lynne and her brother accompany her dad (but not her mom) to a Christmas party. On the way, he meets up with another woman in the railyard and she dumps off her two kids with him, following an implication that they were, in the past, seeing each other. Lynne and the young girl seem to hit it off pretty well, until at the party the young girl sits on Lynne’s father’s lap and calls him “Dad”.
Yep, that’s about the end of that relationship. Kind of rough to find out that you have a couple of secret siblings. Lynne redeems herself at the end of the film by NOT throwing a rock at her half-sister.
That uplifting little film led us into the Norwegian Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In), directed by Tomas Alfredson. The title of the film was beyond obscure until a scene late in the movie (though it could have possibly been inferred from an earlier scene). This may be the fault of the subtitles, which weren’t so hot and have been demonized on the web, or it may just be my own lack of knowledge in vampire lore. Yes, if you didn’t already know, it’s a vampire movie.
Oskar is a lonely and bullied boy who lives with his mother (his father lives elsewhere, though Oskar does visit him during the film). He’s obsessed with the crime files from the newspaper, and finally one of the crimes comes very close to home:
A psychopath intercepts a teen on a dark road, ethers him, and drags him out to the woods to bleed him out, but is interrupted by some people walking their dog and is forced to flee the scene. Naturally, he’s supposed to be collecting dinner for our star:
Eli is a vampire, with the appearance of a little girl. Appearances can be deceptive, as not only is she an emasculated “he”, but she’s also hundreds of years old. Because, you know, vampires are like that. The psychopath is her protectorate pedophile, who has taken it upon himself to do her dirty work without actually seeming to get anything in return. Of course, his failure to procure a meal has made her a bit hungry, so she’s not quite herself when she first meets Oskar in the park outside their shared apartment building.
But she goes out and gets her own dinner, after which she’s in a much better mood. She and Oskar start up the typical sort of preteen awkward romance-type relationship, at least Oskar does. She encourages him to stand up to the bullies, which he does, but it isn’t too long before Oskar begins to figure out that something is up and she’s a vampire. Maybe it’s that he only ever sees her at night, or maybe it’s the way she’s able to fly up the sides of buildings and knock on his window.
But when her pedophile once again fails to get her some blood, this time getting caught in the high school itself (he pours acid over his face to make himself unrecognizable), Eli has to go about finding a replacement Hemo-daddy. First, she sucks him dry at the hospital, though. He seems to accept this, as psychopathic vampire pedophiles are wont to do. It seems pretty obvious that Oskar is her next target, as he’s already accepted her undead status.
Meanwhile, there’s a bit of excitement about town as one of Eli’s escaped dinners develops vampirism and decides to help out the hospital with their heating bills, but the real vampire excitement comes in the reveal from the film’s title. In the previous two instances where Eli has entered somebody else’s property, she has first asked for and been granted permission. Seems innocuous, but apparently vampires DO have to ask, or bad things happen.
These kind of bad things. This was the result of Oskar refusing permission just to see what would happen. Presumably things would have gotten a lot worse for Eli, but Oskar freaked out and gave permission. We have a title! In the end, Oskar and Eli part ways (she has to move on as the town is on to the whole vampire in the midst thing at this point) and Eli is lured to the empty schoolground by the bullies, angry about his standing up for himself.
They try to drown him, but Eli uses her supreme vampire speed (and apparently stalking tactics) to dinnerize all the bullies and she and Oskar head off together. We’ve already seen what we can only assume will happen to Oskar in the end. He kind of seems a nice boy, but he’s going to have to learn to string a guy up and slice his jugular. It’s the way of the world.