Sunday, November 22, 2009

POLL: Films of the book?

There are several films coming out into wide release (in the USA/UK/NZ/Australia etc) in the coming weeks, which are based upon books which fall (at least somewhat) into the crime or thriller category. Pleasingly, there are some great filmmakers and actors involved in these films adaptations, which should give readers and filmgoers cause for some anticipation.

So I thought I would run a poll (see sidebar to the right) about which film adaptation readers are most looking forward to. Here is some more information about the four choices (I advise you to watch the linked trailers, as they'll give you a much better idea of each film than my small blurbs):

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Stieg Larsson)The smash-hit first volume of the worldwide phenomenon ‘Millennium Trilogy’ introduced one of crime fiction’s most unique protagonists, disturbing punk heroine Lisbeth Salander, who along with crusading liberal journalist Mikael Blomkvist, investigates a forty-year old disappearance linked to a series of gruesome murders.

The film adaptation of Larsson's masterpiece stars Michael Nyquist as Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace as the irrepressible Salander, and has already grossed over $100 million at the box office in Europe. It is the most successful local film of all time at the Nordic box office.
You can watch the English-subtitled trailer HERE.

The highly-anticipated film version of Alice Sebold’s beloved novel; the heart-wrenching story of teenager Susie Salmon who, after being brutally raped and murdered, comes to terms with her own death as she watches from a personal heaven as her family, friends, and killer try to go on with their lives. An 'emotional thriller' where the chase for the killer isn't the main thrust of the book.

For a time this was thought an 'unfilmable' book; that is until it was placed in the hands of multiple Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson (who has already made film history with a superb adaptation of another beloved literary work long believed unfilmable - The Lord of the Rings trilogy). The film has a stellar cast - it stars Saoirse Ronan as Susie, alongside Oscar/Emmy/Golden Globe award-winners and nominees Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Imperioli and Stanley Tucci. Unsurprisingly, it is already getting Oscar buzz.

You can watch the trailer HERE.

SHUTTER ISLAND (Dennis Lehane)
A 1954-set suspense tale where up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital.

Martin Scorcese is in the director's chair, and the rest of the cast is sprinkled with 'names' and solid actors aplenty; Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo, and Emily Mortimer amongst them

SHUTTER ISLAND is the third Lehane novel to be brought to the big screen, following acclaimed adaptations of MYSTIC RIVER and GONE BABY GONE.

You can watch the trailer HERE.

SHERLOCK HOLMES (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Unlike the other three films, this isn't based on a particular book, rather one of the most famous characters in English literature - the drug-taking, violin-playing, Baker Street-dwelling detective that popularised crime fiction more than a century ago.

Starring Robert Downer Jr as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as dependable sidekick Watson, the Guy Ritchie-directed film certainly looks like quite a new take on the legendary detective, though in some ways you could argue its going back more to the original books, and focusing on things about Holmes that later adaptations overlooked (e.g. his fighting skills etc).

You can watch the trailer HERE.

Personally, I'm looking forward to all four. It's exciting to see great directors like Jackson and Scorcese involved with the adaptations, as well as some pretty stellar actors.

I would love to read your thoughts on the four above films (or other crime/thriller fiction adaptations past or future) and the books/characters they are based on. Do you have a favourite? Do you think your favourite book may not end up being your favourite film?
What do you think about the filmmakers involved? Do you like watching films adapted from books? Even if you usually don't, do some of the films above pique your interest, giving the quality cast and crew? What other crime/thriller novels or characters would you like to see brought to the big screen?


  1. I watched "The Girl..." some time ago and enjoyed it quite a lot even though my husband is right when he says Lisbeth Salander does not come across as an Asperger in the film.

    On the whole I prefer good books, though, so I am probably not going to watch any of the others.

  2. Of the four, I would be most likely to see _The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo_, but frankly, it's doubtful that I will. I am reading it now and enjoying it but really have no interest in seeing it on the screen.

  3. Craig - Thanks for this post; it really is interesting to think about which film is going to do the best job with the book. I often find that the better the book, the more disappointing the film. Perhaps that's too much of a generalization, though....

  4. It's probably usually a fair generalisation though Margot - particularly as the better (or at least better-known) books may often have more fervent audiences who are less inclined to forgive the necessary changes between book and film format. Not every book lends itself well to adaptation - after all film and novels are quite different formats. If the best part of a book is internal monologue, or other things that are difficult to transfer well to screen, then that is clearly going to affect things a lot.

  5. I read "Shutter Island" earlier this year and didn't really care for it, so I'm not expecting much there. The Holmes film is a different approach and I look forward to it. Holmes's fighting skills were established in the books, so this is not as revolutionary as one might think. If anyone's interested I have just released a new Holmes novel chronicling the first association of Holmes and magician Harry Houdini, THE PANDORA PLAGUE. Check it out:

  6. I already see "The Girl......",but it was not upto my expectation. In the book reader ride a Journey of frustration, searching for truth and a chronological Journey from ash to rebirth but the film have shortage of this all kind of emotion.After reading the book I spent seven days only thinking about the character so I think director don't gave the book it's required attention(probably screenwriter!).

    From Calcutta With Crime...