Old Foreign is New Again
To the entertainment writers and movie critics who have grown cynical in the face of the seemingly endless stream of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots hitting theaters these days, the recent news that Charlize Theron will be starring in an English-language remake of Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is just another sign that Hollywood is fresh out of ideas. However, according to the writer of the adaptation, William Monahan — who took the already exceptionally good Chinese crime thriller Infernal Affairs and turned it into a script worthy of Martin Scorsese and the Academy called The Departed — that couldn't be further from the truth:
[Screenwriting is] the only popular literary form we’ve got left. Adaptation is a very traditional and honorable endeavor in writing for dramatic performance, and if people don’t know that it leads to a hell of a lot of originality and invention in the right hands, well, I’m not going to provide a reading list."
Monohan describes screenwriting as "drama in English" and said foreign movie remakes are the equivalent of Shakespeare taking foreign stories and doing his own "departures from the material." While we have a hard time comparing the vast majority of foreign movie remakes to Shakespeare, there have been several exceptional ones over the years and even a few that managed to surpass the foreign originals. Turn off the subtitles and help us choose the best English-language adaptations of foreign movies.
Rate the Top 10 Best Foreign Movie Remakes >>
Posted 12.03.12 by BrentJS
Director John Madden's thriller The Debt opens today, but Focus Features is offering a few last glimpses to inspire a trip to the theater.
A remake of the 2007 Israeli thriller HaHov, The Debt takes place in two decades. One half of the movie is set in the present day, following retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Academy Award–winner Helen Mirren) and Stefan (two-time Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson) as they learn some disturbing news about their former Nazi-hunting colleague David (Ciarán Hinds). The other half of the movie takes place in the 1960s, showing a young Rachel (Jessica Chastain) trains with David (Sam Worthington) and Stefan (Marton Csokas) and hunts Nazi Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen), "The Surgeon of Birkenau." Believing Vogel dead, the story unfolds once the war criminal surfaces 35 years later, as both decades reveal more about what really happened.
The cast of The Debt have been making the press rounds, with Chastain recently telling Collider about her training for the role, which meant learning the Israeli self-defense system Krav Maga. watch the clips and read more from the cast >> Posted 08.31.11 by Ryan
A new trailer has been released for Academy Award–nominated director John Madden's (Killshot) new movie, The Debt, a remake of the Israeli thriller HaHov. Written by Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, and Peter Straughan, the movie stars Academy Award–winner Helen Mirren as Rachel Singer, a former Mossad agent who comes out of retirement to track down and kill Nazi war criminal Dieter Vogel (Jesper Christensen), "The Surgeon of Birkenau," who has surfaced in a small Ukrainian town 35 years after she supposedly shot and killed him. The story unfolds in both the '60s — with Jessica Chastain as young Rachel and Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas as her Nazi-hunting Mossad partners, David and Stefan, respectively — and in the '00s, with Ciarán Hinds and Tom Wilkinson playing the elder David and Stefan. watch the new trailer >> Posted 04.12.11 by BrentJS
In The Debt, Academy Award-winner Dame Helen Mirren plays an ex-Mossad agent who comes out of retirement to discover why an infamous Nazi war criminal, known as the Surgeon of Birkenau, is still alive 30 years after he was supposed to have been killed. The movie from director John Madden (Killshot) is a remake of the Israeli thriller HaHov (2007), and also stars Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciarán Hinds. see all four clips >> Posted 09.23.10 by BrentJS
The first trailer for Academy Award-nominated director John Madden's new movie, The Debt, is now online. A remake of the Israeli thriller HaHov (2007), The Debt tells the story of a former Nazi-hunting Mossad agent (Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren) who returns to Eastern Europe to uncover the truth behind the emergence of a man claiming to be the infamous Nazi war criminal known as the Surgeon of Birkenau thirty years after she believed he had been killed during her secret mission to bring him to justice. Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkinson and Ciarán Hinds also star. Watch the trailer >> Posted 07.21.10 by BrentJS