Piece by Jordan and Eddie on 25/05/2015
It’s not often that a remake of a foreign movie, TV show or an old classic succeeds, but when they do they’re usually hugely enjoyable and memorable films in their own rights, sometimes even eclipsing what the original did so well.
The key to a successful remake is that the filmmaker looks to not copy or pay homage to the original but ad their own unique flair to the story, without losing sight of what made the tale such a success in the first place. Remembering, often the original is based on a novel or other literary source to begin with.
Below, both Jordan and Eddie pick and explain why there personal favourite remake of a foreign source material has made it onto this list.
Happy reading and happy watching!
The Departed (2006)
Discussing remakes, re-envisionings, different takes and updates is something that scarcely interests me, as I adopt the idealistic and possible naive approach that films are created through artistic integrity and creative endeavor.
There are two realities though: studio films are made for a profit, and regardless of this reality some English-speaking remakes of foreign language films can truly stamp themselves on the cinema landscape.
The Departed is one such example. Tense, captivating, shocking and boasting career best performances from a plethora of accomplished actors, it won iconic director Martin Scorsese his sole Academy Award for Best Director, before going on to be awarded Best Picture also. A remake of Wai-Keung Lau and Alan Mak‘s Hong Kong original police thriller Infernal Affairs (2002), itself an intense and at times dramatic title which spawned two sequels, Scorsese’s version benefits greatly from its South Boston flavor and remembering to maintain the heavy emotional aspects, as each lead character lives a lie and further forgets why they are doing it.
Let Me In (2010)
Remakes are a tricky business, especially when the film being remade is one that is well loved or well-known, so filmmakers are set a task that requires much perseverance and dedication. Concerning this there are many remakes of beloved foreign films that just don’t bode well with audiences, such as Oldboy or Dinner for Shmucks, but also some that pay homage to their originals with much reference and sometimes equal their fore fathers in their own special way.
One such remake that is 2010’s Let Me In.
A remake of renowned 2008 Swedish horror film Let The Right One In by Tomas Alfredson (itself based on John Ajvide Lindqvist fantastic book), Let Me In may not have been a huge critical hit but it was a well-liked and frequently original Hollywood adaptation that refused to pull any punches in its often harrowing depiction of the early teen years and the lore behind vampire tales.
That Let Me In succeeds in its re-envisioning of Alfredson’s original film is largely due to that fact that at its core there is a universal theme that everyone both young and old can relate to, growing up, young love and the loneliness that often comes with it. There is an oddly touching ode to friendship and two wrongs making a right behind this tale, and both Let the Right One In and Let Me In display an affection for this material that is matched equally by visual cues that dialogue could never truly convey.
From the cold winter covered playgrounds, the apartment complexes that house so many a lost soul or the haunting scene of a blood filled swimming pool, Let Me In equals its predecessor in its design and production and features as with the 2008 version, outstanding child performances from its two leads that were in this case Australian Kodi-Smit McPhee and the then-non-annoying Chloe Grace Moretz.
For fans of the horror genre or chilling art house films, both Let the Right One In and Let Me In offer much in the way of enjoyment. Young filmmaker Matt Reeves showed a wisdom beyond his years with his meticulously crafted and harrowing remake that understood the reasons behind the originals universal themes. So often films being remade for Hollywood fail to encapsulate or translate what made the original break out hits, Let Me In succeeds at standing equal to its near faultless source material.
What’s your favourite remake? Are there fans of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho out there? Is there perhaps a film that’s crying out to be remade for a foreign audience? Let us know in the comments below!