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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Swedish films

Saw The Girl Who Played With Fire for the second time a few nights ago. As good as I remembered, but it made me wonder about the differences between Swedish and American cinema.

The primary difference, I think, is that most Swedish actors look as if they just got out of bed, after having slept in their clothes. In their movies Swedes drink lots of coffee and alcohol, and constantly smoke. The Swedish actors, for the most part, look as if that's what they do in real life as well.

Not to mention that the lighting is not always cheekbone-friendly. Swedish directors seem to have more control, Swedish actors less.

American actors are usually clean-shaven, stylishly (or at least flatteringly) dressed, and look as if they work out constantly. Some have even obviously taken steroids.

And the actors are always shown in their best light: gauzy shots for actresses of a certain age, side- or three-quarter-lighting for everyone else. The make up is always perfect. Take Angelina Jolie, for instance: even in her action scenes, she never has a hair out of place.

The Swedes obviously go for a real people, cinema verite look. Even their blockbusters have the look of documentaries. The Swedish Bikini Team was a creation of Hollywood, not Stockholm. Most of the actresses in Swedish movies look more as if they are on the Swedish Junkie Team.

Hollywood strives for sex appeal, no matter how ersatz. Their number one (through number ten) casting rule is that the audience must either want to look like, or go to bed with, the stars.

Oh, the Swedish plots seem to be better, from the little I've seen.

But the primary difference is the actors' appearance.


Anonymous said...

The difference in actress attractiveness in the Dragon Tattoo films was staggering. I would have much rather seen a regular Swedish chick in that role, instead of that half Swede-half Gypsy chick who is suddenly (and bewilderingly) a supermegastar in Hollywood. I also would have much rather not seen her naked. The difference was most apparent in the end, when she was disguised as a hot blonde in the Cayman bank. The gypsy was clearly a naturally ugly chick using hair and makeup to pass for hot, whereas the US chick was clearly naturally hot, dressing down as a freak for the rest of the movie.

Conversely, I thought the Swedish actresses in the roles of Lost Sister and Blomkvist's Female Partner were better looking (for older women).

The plotline was more believable in the US version, where the hacker chick had to be convinced to work on the case, as opposed to the Swedish version where she was just sooo super smart and crafty, anonymously (and without solicitation) solving riddles for the guy, when she obviously had much bigger personal problems to deal with.

Both versions of Dragon Tattoo, I think, should have ended with the death of the bad guy, and not dragged on 20-30 minutes for the anticlimactic "getting revenge on the bad businessman" epilogue. They were probably trying to follow the book chapter-by-chapter, which doesnt always work on the screen.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I actually thought Naomi Rapace was good for the role, she has a certain feral intensity that suited her character. Rapace may have even been better than Rooney, though Rooney is gorgeous and she is not.

And yes, Blomkvist's female partner was hot. SHE looked like a former member of the bikini team.

I understand what you're saying, but I honestly didn't mind the extra 20-30 minutes, I'm always happier to see loose ends tied up and people get their just desserts, and that tycoon WAS the reason Blomkvist spent that time in jajil.