Entries tagged with “Noomi Rapace”.


When I wrote about the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo a few years ago I ended with a remark that I am concerned about the news of an American Hollywood version of the film. I still believe that the Scandinavian version of the first of Stieg Larsson’s book in the Millennium trilogy is a better movie, but from many respects the American remake directed by  is a respectable effort worth being seen and watched even if you have already seen the original, and even if you are not necessarily a big fan of the author and the legend around him (which continues to develop as we speak).

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568346/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568346/

 

I was expecting to see what the director of Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, Gone Girl, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will make out of the labyrinthine and cool (from so many respects) Scandinavian thriller. To my surprise he was quite respectful to the original story, and developed it better than the version directed by some of the detective story elements. The Agatha Christie heritage is so evident here that we did not need a in the cast to make it more obvious, but I enjoyed his presence. The Hollywood version is also more detailed in describing the social backgrounds of the two principal characters and this only makes their encounter even more charged when it happens. Did I miss something from what I was expecting from Fincher? Yes – the surprise, the usually close to the final twist that makes many of his film be something else than what you believed them to be when you watched them for the first time. Too much respect for the text sometimes harms.

 

(video source Sony Pictures Entertainment)

 

Despite being made at high professional level the Hollywood version stands one step lower than the Swedish one on several key aspects. One is the atmosphere. Whatever Hollywood cameramen do, snow and cold and the light of the North look and feel different in a Scandinavian movie, and the original dialogs and the soundtrack sounded more natural in the Swedish version than the English spoken words. The other is acting. It is said that  brought life into Agent 007. It may be that the dose of life needed to make James Bond a real person is not enough to make investigator journalist Mikael Blomqvist the man in Larsson’s novel who overcomes his life being broken into pieces in order to find the truth. who played the role in the Scandinavian film walked that inch towards fully melding into his character. Almost the same thing can be said about ‘s rendition of Lisbeth Salander – one of the best roles created in the last decade for a young actress. Mara makes us forget her other (nice girl) roles, while had made us forget that there is an actress behind the character.

Despite being better than most of the Hollywood remakes of non-American movies, David Fincher’s film stops one step apart from being as good as original, maybe at an invisible border that cannot really be crossed.

 

I went to this film against all my instincts. I had read already (some of) the bad reviews but I was hoping they were wrong. I so much admire some of the previous works of Brian De Palma (films like ‘Scarface’, ‘The Untouchables’, even the first ‘Mission: Impossible’) and I was hoping that all these critics got it wrong, that they missed the hidden quality of the cinema making of the master. Unfortunately they were all almost right.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1829012/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1829012/

 

I cannot really tell where ‘Passion’ starts to fail. Some of the problems are certainly with the script which tells a story of corporate corruption where guilty passions between the execs at the top slide almost inevitably towards murder. It starts like a corporate intrigue movie, it becomes later a crime story with touches of thriller, and it plays all the time with the soft erotic genre. All is however so superficial! I never succeed to get in touch with the characters which seem to oscillate between attractive and very attractive, evil and very evil. Eventually the whole story seems to long, and the 1h40 min of screening rather seemed to me like 2h40 min.

 

(video source CineFix)

 

It’s not that all good things we know about Brian De Palma’s film-making are missing.  The camera moves are always right and they compensate with the focus and clarity the rather conventional setting. For a few moments in the final there is suspense in the air, but the ending is unnecessarily complicated and with too many twists (looks like two or three alternate endings without adding thrill, maybe these were alternate endings and the director could not decide which one is to be cut out). If the mix of large windows with panoramic landscapes of Berlin and London and the so conventional background music would have been a little more exaggerated I could have even suspected that they hint to parody, like in the Tarantino movies, but I am afraid this is not the case. Is the film supposed to be ‘sexy’? I am afraid it’s just cool like in cold. Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace are very good actresses who have already proved that they can carry very complex and interesting roles, here they do OK sketchy performances, much less than I expected.

If you do not admire Brian De Palma you do not have any special reason to watch this film. If you admire him – as I do – you have the dilemma of whether to watch one of his worst films.  Brian De Palma made a few very good films we all remember and a few less good we would rather forget. ‘Passion’ belongs to the later category.  Maybe what is missing is exactly the Passion. The passion but also the patience for making good cinema.

 

I did not see yet the American remake version of the first series in the ‘Millennium’ adaptation.  I am hearing good things about it, but frankly speaking I enjoyed so much the Swedish version that I am a little bit reluctant to have my visual image of the heroes and the cinematographic version of the landscape where the action happens replaced or confused by something else. In the meantime I saw this third and final series in the version directed by Daniel Alfredson and based on the novels completed by Stieg Larsoon.  I am happy with what I saw.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343097/

 

This third installment misses some of the elements that made the first and also the second film in the series special. We now know almost every about the traumatic past of Lisbeth Salander, and as she is recovering from neurosurgery we can guess that she will face another set of troubles due not only to the conspiracies of the people and institutions that want her reduced to silence, but also to her own character. Missing also is some of the frozen far North landscape, the action takes place this time in the short and lovely Scandinavian season which as pleasant as it may be for the locals does not feature that well on screen as the endless chilly landscape in the first film. The new element that is introduced instead is a conspiracy theory story in which the heroes need not only to solve mysteries, but also face forces beyond their control that try to destroy them for reasons of ‘national security’. The good news is that all these play well together, make sense both from a story telling perspective, as well as from a characters development and dynamics point of view. This last (?) installment of the ‘Millennium’ trilogy may contain less characters suspense, as we already know the heroes, but moves the action in the political and psychological thriller and court drama territories, and does it in a solid and yet sensitive way.

 

(video source simarchetto)

 

Much is of course to be said – again – about the splendid acting of Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth and of Michael Nyquist as journalist Mikael Blomqvist. They are so credible inside their characters skins that it’s hard to imagine them in other roles, or the characters with other faces than theirs (this may be one of the reasons I am in no hurry to see the American version). The team of journalists at the ‘Millennium’ redaction provide good support, with their fears in face of the real dangers they face. In the quiet and civilized Scandinavian democracy, danger and violence surface in a manner that is hard not only to contain but also to believe for the local characters. This contrast adds one more level of interest to this more than satisfying ending of the trilogy.

 

With a new director (Daniel Alfredson) taking charge of the second film in the Scandinavian version Millennium series, The Girl Whi Played with Fire is not at all a disappointment but is less striking and less memorable than the first film, who introduced the characters of the trilogy. The judgment may be more severe than the film really deserves because the it is certainly a well written and well built crime story, with solid characters brought to screen by a team of actors who each makes his job wonderfully, from the leads to the smaller parts. It is probably the surprise effect that is unavoidably gone and maybe also the more standard cinematography that replaces the frozen landscape that dominated The Girl with The Dragon Tatoo. Yes, the Swedish summer can be very pleasant but the winter films better.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1216487/

 

There are more biographical details that we learned about The Girl in the title of the movies, and the action of the film turns around her family and her traumatic childhood we had a glimpse about already. Noomi Rapace is as good as in the first film, but she still keeps enough secrets to have us interested for her fate in the final film of the series. Michael Nyquist‘s character is slightly relegated to the role of the classical seeker of truth, but his acting is still so good that I continue to be concerned about Daniel Craig taking over his role in the Hollywood version in-making (although I like the actor and I believe he deserves and can make much better than a Bond).

 

(video source trailers)

 

Maybe the secret of the magnetic force of these films is that faced with the most sordid vice or violence or put  under the darkest physical or psychological threats the heroes created by Stieg Larsson remain without doubt human. Too bad that these series un-naturally end in a trilogy. The quality of the dialog and the building of tension, the sophistication of the crime story and the human dimension of the characters ask for more. On the other side, the sonata is one of the most perfect pieces in music and it always is composed of three parts. There may be logic in fate sometimes.