It’s been a while since Hollywood has given us a great thriller for grown-ups. Fortunately, there are currently four from outside the US that are in theaters now and well worth seeing. [NOTE: These films include very intense, brutal, and disturbing material]
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is based on the international best-seller, the first of a trilogy by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. All three have been keeping readers up all night all over the world. A disgraced journalist joins forces with a damaged but determined and fiercely honest young woman to research the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy man’s favorite niece. An American movie version is in the works, but fans of the book should see this one now. It is a brilliant adaptation with a sensational performance by Noomi Rapace as the mesmerizing Lisbeth Salander.
“The Red Riding Trilogy” If you are a fan of “Prime Suspect,” you will love these three British films from three different directors that track a series of murders over more than a decade. It is based on David Peace’s The Red Riding Quartet. The first one, set in 1974, tracks a brash young reporter who uncovers corruption that may be tied to several murders. The second takes place in 1980 and focuses on a police officer investigating the “Yorkshire Ripper” murders. He is played by Paddy Considine of “In America.” The last, set in 1983, is about a lawyer (Mark Addy), the son of a policeman, who is finally able to put together what happened. The films are as dark and murky and twisted as the crimes, and completely engrossing.
“Mother” is a South Korean film about a woman whose shy son becomes the suspect in a murder case. It is up to her to prove him innocent. An award-winner at Cannes and Korea’s entry for the foreign language Oscar, this is filled with surprises up to the very last minute.
“Ghost Writer” is the latest and probably final film from legendary director Roman Polanski (“Chinatown,” “The Pianist”). It is the story of a writer (Ewan McGregor) brought in to fix the dull memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan), now living in virtual exile on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. There is only one copy of the draft and it is kept in a locked drawer. I found it almost endearing that in this digital age a sole physical manuscript could become so sought after or that anything written by a retired politician could be considered incendiary.