Movie Reviews Sans Title #2

This entry was posted by on Friday, 25 November, 2011 at

A couple of months ago I saw a trailer for an upcoming movie that confused me. How is that movie not out yet? I have been seeing that movie AND its sequels in the Redbox, well, for about as long as Redbox has been a thing. They are based on a series of popular books, but I had no interest at all in either book or movie until I saw this trailer and began to investigate. It turns out the upcoming movie was the American version, while the DVDs that I had previously encountered, like the original novels, were in Swedish. Americans are not known for their fondness of subtitles, but someone thought that these movies were compelling enough to drop into local convenience stores and supermarkets? NOW I was interested.

As for the movie itself, it was excellent. Oh, it definitely is not for everyone. For one thing, it does involve a lot of reading. Moreover, the translation seems odd in parts. Not that I am any kind of expert; the only Swedish that I know is “Börk, börk, börk!” and I do not even know what that means. But the characters in the movie use the word “mördare” several times, and the subtitles always read “killer” despite the fact that the word sounds a whole lot like “murderer.” Come on guys. A word that sounds like “fantastic” came up twice, once early in the movie and oddly translated as “excellent”, and then toward the end of the movie, this time translated to “fantastic.” Hmm. A couple of times a character would say perhaps one syllable, and the translation would be a whole sentence, and I felt that I was missing out on some of the slanginess. I realize that these are pedantic complaints, but things like that interfere with my suspension of disbelief.

Perhaps more importantly for a general audience, this movie is a thriller that does get pretty graphic in parts. Nothing really over-the-top, but still a lot of people are not into that. Also, upon reflection, it did have a rather linear narrative. Several sub-plots were hinted at but not really explored. The book is probably much better about these, but when is it ever not? I had absolutely no idea what the story was about before I started, which I personally find tends to help my enjoyment of a movie considerably.

I do not have very high hopes for the American remake, as I expect them to throw a lot of money at it and focus less on things like “plot” and “dialog” in favor of “action” and “cinematography”. I feel that the distinct lack of subtlety in the song choice for the trailer does not bode well. But that is different movie.

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