Having recently watched Let The Right One In (LTROI) I have to say I was incredibly disappointed. After reading so many great reviews I just found it to be a case of overhype in the same way as the Blind Side and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was also badly overhyped.
Which leads me on to my main point. Is it a case of 'positive discrimination' when it comes to foreign films? It seems people are far too scared to give critical reviews on foreign films.
I will give some examples:
The Host: Basically a rubbish soap opera type drama with a poorly realised monster as the main antagonist. If this was made in the West it would have sunk without a trace for being laughable, badly acted and directed with dire special effects to bring the monster to life. This film contains a strong anti-West/anti-American feel to it where the South Koreans portray terribly offensive racial stereotypes of American soldiers. Fair enough, the Americans themselves can do the same with awful films like Operation Delta Force and it can be equally offensive with the way Americans portray Russians, etc in films, but it proves that this was more of a case of politics (e.g. the Americans involvement in Iraq) over plot.
Again, if a film of the low quality of The Host was released by Hollywood, it would be panned.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo as a film (can't comment on the novel, as I know people who hold the novel in high regard) is at best a below par crime drama that has only done as well as it has through overhype and by relying on the reputation of the book.
Let the Right One In was a dull drama with a horrendous paedophile overtones to the story (just look at all the fan pages for the character of Eli that have suddenly appeared, no doubt created by older guys). Again, if the American remake was an exact remake, it would be panned for being disturbing and amoral. Whereas the remake (Let Me In) has received very mixed reviews and is apparently more action focused than story/child-child relationship focused.
A Tale of Two Sisters was remade as The Uninvited. Neither film was particularly brilliant, but again the remake is panned and the original praised, when it truly isn't that great a film or story in the first place.
Most of us know that remakes suck big time, there is no denying that. To think of a remake that either adds to the original, expands on the original or exceeds it is pretty difficult (The Thing being the only example I can currently think of), but there does seem to be an atmosphere of anti-Hollywood feeling and pro-foreign film feeling.
N.B. I am not someone who objects to foreign films having subtitles, etc. The Orphanage, Sin Hombre and Pan's Labyrinth were great films that I thoroughly enjoyed.