Steig Larsson, Niels Arden Oplev, Noomi Rapace and Tomas Alfredson — not exactly the names you would expect to have a lot of resonance in the world of cinema or television. After all, more often than not foreign film is the exclusive refuge of avid fans in search of something exotically alien yet cruelly ignored. Män som hatar kvinnor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In) and Forbrydelsen (The Killing) are but a few of the recent success stories that have been so brilliant that they’ve warranted English adaptation.
Still, attention must be drawn to some of the questionable adaptations of these Scandinavian masterpieces. Let The Right One In was initially a minor cult hit that achieved its eventual success because of its captivating narrative revolving around bullying, family separation and alienation. However, Matt Reeves’ Let Me In concentrated far too heavily on the vampire element, rather than the simple innocence of childhood that came to define Let The Right One In. Moreover, the US-produced The Killing took broad, simplistic impressions of the originally multifaceted characters. That is not to say that these versions are bad; rather that they’re just clunky, and detract from the joy of the original material. Though, with David Fincher at the helm of the latest adaptation of the phenomenon that was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, we may well get to see a film worthy of our attention.
Overall, the recent interest from the English-speaking film and television community has demonstrated the wealth of quality within foreign media. Arguably, this quality is not exclusively reserved to Scandinavian countries — every country enjoys this experience, whether it is French New Wave cinema or Japan’s Anime films. Scandinavia it would seem has for now found its niche with these dark, unsettling dramas that have captured the avid interest of critics and audiences alike, and rightly so.