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27 January 2012


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Maureen Lang

Have seen neither the Swedish nor English versions, but have read Larsson's books. RIP Stieg & all that, but the man did tend to overplot, & then overwrite his overplotting. For IMO infinitely more interesting reads, I'd recommend Helene Tursten's Irene Huss series, the incomparable Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series, & from Norway, Gunnar Staalesen's Varg Veum series.

Oh, & the Swedish telly version of Wallander runs rings around Branagh's PBS offerings (I'm a limited Branagh the Actor fan, but you're just not a good fit in this role, sorry, Ken. Maybe if you'd directed & given the lead over to someone else...).


"...duly fitted with rings and studs and a murderous if understandable rage against manhood..." I dated someone like that once. Fun while it lasted.

I finally did see "Farewell to the King" yesterday. I can see why Pat likes it. Good flick.

Phil Giraldi

The Swedish movie was MUCH better because it showed you everything you need to know about Sweden: (1) Boring (2)Everybody is always screwing everybody else (3) Boring (4)More rules and regulations than in Stalinist Russia (5) Boring (6) Lots of funny looking immigrants running around (6) Boring.

I couldn't understand all the screwing and potential screwing with the actor playing Blomquist as he is pock marked, dumpy, and has the demeanor of a orangutan. Full disclosure: I've read all three books and seen all three Swedish movies. My favorite scene in the books was where Blomquist was driving hard to reach the farm where Lisbeth is about to be slaughtered. HE WAS BREAKING THE SPEED LIMIT and he thinks to himself that A NUMBER OF OTHER DRIVERS HAD UNDOUBTEDLY REPORTED HIM TO THE POLICE. Anal, completely anal.

William R. Cumming

Thanks for the tips Maureen! And agree on the Wallander series. But I also like subtitles and subtexts!



I have taken to watching all this stuff on scandinavian crime. Van Veeterin is the best. Sweden looks like a godawful place. In the Martin Beck series, perhaps the worst, there is a sub-plot concerning this cop's decision to break the law by helping his wretched daughter illegally buy an apartment. What is that about? My personal favorite in Scandihoovy film is "The Troll Hunter." pl

Paul Escobar

Nice to see a discussion of foreign mystery.

You all should see "Memories Of Murder", a relatively recent South Korean film:

IMO, it has become my favourite movie of all time. The ending is film perfection.


Strange what fiction does. I've read tons of dry history on the place. And, yes, I've heard all the derogatory comments about the culture. But nothing they say alters my view of France as a charming village led by indomitable Gauls. ;)


I read Stieg's books both in Swedish and English and I have encountered many in the US who have read the books and a few that saw the movies. What puzzles me is that the rather pervasive political content is largely ignored by most. His anti-authority and anti-government views would make most tea party types proud and his feminist views should excite the NOW crowd. Of course the Occupy crowd would like the anti-wealth and power slant. The literal translation of the first book from Swedish is: Men who hate women.

BTW, I was named after my grandfather.

steve g

Loved the movie. Is it not about the dichotomy of
the Swedish personality? The world perceives the
Swedes as permissive progressives. Free love,
pornography, socialism. A heterogeneous culture
of submisiveness. What is the flip side of the
historical reality? The Vikings. The eastern
contingent conquered Europe and Russia all the
way to Turkey, establishing trade routes that are
still used today. Their ferocity was unchallenged.
So how does this juxtapose with modern day Sweden.
A subset of nilhistic adventurers, technologically
advanced. King Harald is the Blue Tooth of modern
day cellphone usage. Both of these worlds collide.
The cold callous ambivalence toward the family
members is particularly striking. The story is
based on one persons attempt to break away from
the historical non-relationships. It has all the
trappings of a post feminist Clock Work Orange.
My firt cousin is a Lars(s)on.

James ben Goy

This was one of those flicks that called for a lot of suspension of disbelief, and, having done that, I thought it went rather well, compared to some of the dogs I have seen lately. 'Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut,' as an example. A tedious, tendentious waste of money. And talk about a miscast, at least Daniel Craig looked like he belonged in the Girl's movie. Al's right: it was her movie.


Most views about modern Sweden are often wrong, all too much of the old times are right, but largely unknown in the US. I took my American wife to the Historic Museum and showed her the Gold Room. She was very impressed, but I had to explain to her that there were no receipts for any of the treasures.

There is also a reason why there are so many Swedes playing in the NHL.

I liked the movie as well. It may not be a great one, but it is good enough. Stieg Larsson was still pretty much a political radical and he would be astonished how wealthy he has made his father and brother.


Saw the three Swedish movies, aside from the fact that they should have been called "Never Visit Sweden I, II and III" I thought the first was very good, the second less so and the third not very good at all. Apparently you don't need to be American to write a Hollywood ending. Haven't seen the American remake, not sure if I want to as I've been quite disappointed by remakes of foreign films in general.


Fred, we must be on the same wavelength, just saw Farewell to the King too--Netflix must have TWO copies. My capsule review: Dances with Wolves crossed with Bridge on the River Kwai. Nick chews the scenery, but all in all, a good PL pick.


You just have to understand the Swedish color code: Live GREEN, work BLACK, vote RED, and think BLUE. A Swedish Colonel instructed me in that, and I've been pondering it for a long time.

They didn't think BLUE enough to ever join NATO but they did traffic in the odd Roosian defector.

For most of those Swedish things, I think they are a handy palliative in case you accidentally get too happy somehow.


Trollhunter is great. I also like A Somewhat Gentle Man where I think Stellan Skarsgård does a wonderful job. Also not to be missed is Terribly Happy which is kind of a Danish Fargo IMO. Both available on Netflix streaming.

Maureen Lang

Yes indeed, HankP, American foreign film remakes, Scandi films/tv series for me in particular, are so hit 'n miss, why bother when you can enjoy the original via 1st run or rental. Case in point- Låt Den Rätte Komma In ("Let The Right One In"), which was remade as "Let Me In." Pat has "The Troll Hunter," I've got my favorite Scandi pegged at "Right One."

Charles I

PE didja ever see his monster movie The Host? Made after Memories of Murder I think, which I agree is a great film. The Host is a very well done fish monster tale as improbable as may be, well worth a watch. Widely available from the usual sources in Korean or dubbed English.


I have a dark looking - "A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes." - Turkish crime drama that deservedly won the Cannes Grand Prix.


Then there's the 1967 Japanese Yakuza classic Branded to Kill.


All well worth the effort.

Maureen Lang

You're very welcome. Add Håkan Nesser's Van Veeteren series to that pile of police procedural recommends. As Pat remarked, the Scandi tv version of Nesser's novels that runs on PBS International Mystery series is might fine, too.


Let the Right One In was excellent, I refuse to see the American version for much the same reasons as you, Maureen. Trollhunter was very good, a more humorous version of The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield. Another darkly funny film was the Finnish Rare Exports.

In fact the only reason I've kept my Netflix streaming service is because of the excellent foreign film selection available. If you get a chance, check out the Thai film Chocolate, a martial arts extravaganza with truly amazing and frightening stunt work, as shown in the outtakes at the end.



I, too, saw the creepy movie about the 12 year old vampire girl. That was pretty bad but there is a French film called something like "Vampires" that was so awful and weird that I turned it off. pl

Paul Escobar

Charles I,

Good man! Yes, I did see the 'The Host'. It's like JJ Abrams - if he understood great characters & solid pacing.

From the same guy who made 'Memories of Murder'? That guy reminds you why you originally loved a certain genre...be it mystery or sci-fi.

Thanks for the other suggestions. Looking forward to tracking down that Anatolia flick.


I guess that was about buying a contract for a rent-controlled apartment, which is illegal but cheaper than buying a condominium. All apartments are still rent-controlled in Sweden. The housing situation in Stockholm is quite grim so subplots about finding housing for your offspring should resonate.


Paul, Charles,

Man, you guys have watched more flicks than I ever did. It's funny how I loved print more than screen when I was an adolescent.

But this should be a nice sci-fi addition Korean æsthetics. --

Sky Blue


I like how it ends.



Re: Chocolate

Ong Bak feminized.


Man, you should check out these French dudes.




Somethin' (way back when) I could only hope to aspire...


i'm cool with dragon tattoos, but butterfly tattoo designs are my favorite.


Bron/Broen (The Bridge) is an interesting Danish/Swedish series.

When looking up the link I saw that there are quite a number of remakes:
* US - Mexico
* UK - France
* Estonia - Russia

Although often too caricatural it must have generated a lot of recognizable situations and character traits of some of the people we know, encounter or are.

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