Monday, January 3, 2011
Salon's attempt to pick the Top 10 scenes from 2010 movies is an interesting one. After all, there are movies that are great because of the entirety of the work, but you might not be able to remember a specific scene. Then, of course, there are movies that have one or two great moments, but over all, the story doesn't hold up, or something else keeps the film from being great.
Salon's No. 7 scene, from Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, reminds me of how much I admired the filmmaking in that movie, but hated the actual plot and the overall lack of subtlety.
However, I was surprised by the No. 1 pick, a scene from Let Me In, the remake of a Swedish movie that more or less tanked at the box office. The reviews were positive (including Colin Boyd's in this paper), but I never got around to seeing it for some reason.
Based on Salon's description, I'll definitely catch it on DVD:
But what's even more striking is Reeves' forceful yet elegant visual style, which is so different from his work on the 2008 documentary-styled, shaky-cam monster epic "Cloverfield" that it takes a moment to register that the two movies were made by the same director. Every shot in "Let Me In" has a clearly defined narrative purpose and is gorgeous, too. Like Steven Spielberg and Brian DePalma in the 1970s and early '80s — the last American masters of pre-digital blockbuster moviemaking, and clearly Reeves' main visual inspirations — the director pushes right up to the edge of vainglorious cleverness, but never succumbs. When the movie abandons its go-to mode, muted efficiency, and becomes boldly emotional or visually arresting, it's never superimposing spectacle on top of a story that doesn't need it. Both the flourishes and fleeting grace notes amplify emotions that were present in the script.
Here's Salon's annotated version of the winning scene: