For anyone whose parents grew up in the late 70's / early 80's, there was a TV programme that had them all talking, and with the shrieks of "sacrilege" that normally accompanies fearful remakes, will undoubtedly again.
However, their calls of outrage should swiftly, upon viewing, become claps of appreciation. There are certain things that either demand another interpretation of it or are good enough to warrant another stab at it. If the right director and the right cast unite then there should be nothing to fear apart from a begrudging appreciation of the new version.
Alfredson, who hit the world squarely in the neck with the original Let The Right One In, trades places and becomes the hunter with an adaptation rather than the hunted where his unusual twist on the tale of vampires was remade with big bucks. And to his credit, he has pulled off a sublime piece of film.
Set in the 70's where The Cold War was everything, Alfredson's team have generated a look and feel that slowly saturates into the viewer from the get-go. Colours feel muted, conversations secret and stilted, even the film stock seems grey and grainy reflecting the world upon the screen of non black-and-white ethics and loyalty from all involved in the proceedings.
From the pre-title sequence, all you need to know about how to view the rest of the film is set up straight away - trust no one. The "event" that starts the ball rolling is so steeped in paranoia, with suspicious glances, overly-sweating waiters, window shutters being closed, that it packs in its 10 minutes more tension and nail-biting than a slew of recent Hollywood thrillers all out together.
Not one actor puts a step wrong. And not unlike the Harry Potter franchise, you will spend a lot of time multi-tasking by being surprised at who you recognise upon the screen - Trigger! Waynetia! - whilst trying to decipher what appears to be clues from meaningful glances and in-the-distance meetings. As much as they are all great - particularly Strong, Firth, Hurt, Hardy - this is all Oldman's concerto and he conducts all around him with a still, unnerving quietness that makes you draw in every detail possible to keep up with his engaged mind. So much so, that when he does have one slight outburst (as in a raised voice) it's like a slap to the face.
An example of the genre that hasn't been viewed by myself in ages, this is a true "slow-burner" where, in a double-edged sword attack, it feels like not much is happening whilst yet at the same time the characters, the locations and more importantly and impressively, the time frame are constantly in motion, taking you one step forward and two steps back.
There was a second outing on TV for the large rimmed glasses wearing spy - Smiley's People - and, after watching this, we can only but hope that they all feel like giving that one a go too. We deserve another trip to the circus! Utterly engrossing cinema.
UK release date: 16.09.11