Judita DaSilva

The Killing (TV Series)

3 September 2013


‘The Killing – (U.S. TV Series)’

– Starring:  Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman.

*Judita’s Score:  8/10 *


– This review is more of an ode to a discovered gem (Mireille Enos) rather than a full throttle analysis of the TV show in question.  The Killing in its original form was a Danish television show that took audiences by storm and then upon syndication in the UK on BBC4 it had unexpected success there too, much to everyone’s surprise and pleasure.  True to form, once this success was noticed by our brothers across the Atlantic, a Hollywood revamp wasn’t too far behind.  This had a bittersweet effect.  The sweet being the showcasing of Mireille Enos as a true contender in what is a field of slim pickings, when it comes to genuinely formidable young actresses in Hollywood today.  The bitter being America’s unwillingness to embrace and/or accommodate the world that exists all around it (i.e. “Foreign Cinema”).

If a foreign country produces something wonderful, it isn’t enough for Hollywood to say “thank you, what you did, as you did it, is great”, they have to redo it themselves and present THAT as the viable product for mass consumption. Judita says NO!  I mean heaven forbid an American should be allowed to actually like a movie that is not in his/her language.  Perish the thought!  This unabashed practice of repackaging the world’s entertainment on Hollywood’s terms is naïve and does American audiences a disservice.  It shackles them and prevents any potential opportunity to truly broaden creative understanding/appreciation.

Case in point:

(Exhibit A)

- Let The Right One In (2008) directed by Tomas Alfredson – (YAY!)

cue the Hollywood remix and 2 years later we have …

- Let Me In (2010) directed by Matt Reeves – (NAY!)


(Exhibit B)

- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) directed by Niels Arden Oplev – (YAY!)

cue the Hollywood remix and 2 years later we have …

- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) directed by David Fincher – (NAY!)

(N.B. I still have crazy respect for David Fincher in spite of this faux pas.  He is only human and anyone can make a mistake.  David I forgive you and you may proceed!)

Back to my point: These were both solid 8+ scoring films in their original incarnations, but after being rebooted with that proverbial Hollywood sheen the result was the creation of, sadly, sub-par reincarnations.  Please note, I have chosen to keep my sermon today confined to Scandinavian-Hollywood transgressions because if I were to venture any further afield I could be here all day.  After all this particular review is about The Killing so I shall endeavour to ‘rant in context’!

I say “Hollywood follow Martin Scorsese’s lead” (which is something I would advise anyway, when it comes to many a thing to do with movie making).  Scorsese sees something impressive like Easy Money (2013) directed by Daniel Espinosa and his first reaction is not to ‘translate-and-reboot’ but instead to ‘endorse-and-produce’.  God bless you sir!  Champion foreign cinema Hollywood and maybe the creative stagnation I have had to endure as a member of the ticket buying public will soon become a thing of the past.  Yes people, when I dream, I dream big!

Thankfully every cloud has a silver lining and this particular silver lining was the casting of Hollywood’s answer to Sofie Gråbøl.  In the original version of The Killing she played detective Sarah Lund, which was to become Hollywood’s detective Sarah Linden.  This silver lining’s name is Mireille Enos and I am pleased to say “YES … Thank You … more of that please Hollywood”!  Finally an actress, subsequent to the Streep/Foster/Sarandon generation, who leaves sex appeal in her dressing room and steps onto the set ready to REALLY act.  She makes interpretive choices on screen that are indicative of someone who is trying to really do something special as opposed to the painting-by-numbers acting 90% of actresses stick to.  At the end of the day 90% of them ARE only there to look good, so what’s good acting got to do with it?  Mireille Enos is the one to watch.  She just needs Hollywood to invest in her, which is easier said than done, but keep doing what you are doing Mireille because it is getting noticed!

If Mireille Enos was the main course, I must mention that dessert was pretty good too.  Swedish born actor Joel Kinnaman, soon to be Robocop for the new generation, didn’t fall short of the mark at all (he is also coincidentally the star of Easy Money, which I mentioned earlier).  Granted he is an actor I am familiar with from his Swedish movies, so I knew he had ability, but again I give credit where credit is due.  He has made the transition to Hollywood very smoothly, much like the Skarsgård collective.  If you do not know who they are then please don’t even bother reading the rest of this review.  Just find your way to a darkened corner somewhere and slap yourself. I say this for your own good, not mine!

We are in a new age.  I know I am not being a contrarian or a pessimist when I speak of my disenchantment with Hollywood films.  It seems if your characters don’t wear costumes and have super-powers, good luck getting funding for your movie.  Just take a look for yourself.  Some of the titans of film have transitioned to television.  Scorsese on Boardwalk Empire, Ridley Scott on The Good Wife, Anthony Minghella (R.I.P.) on The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, to name but a few.  Big name directors have looked to TV, the quality of TV has gone up thus initiating a slow but steady evolution of TV into the new film.  I have watched episodes of Boardwalk Empire (and I must thank Scorsese again because this show finally gave Steve Buscemi his chance to shine like I always said he could) that where of such a calibre that had they been made feature film length I would have no qualms suggesting they be considered for an Oscar.  No joke!  They were that good!

So what can we take away from all this?

Mireille Enos, YES.  Joel Kinnaman, YES.  Martin Scorsese, HELL YES all day, every day.  Hollywood remixes of foreign films, NO!