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.