Americans should broaden their movie horizons


Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

American movie audiences do not like to read. 

This was proven once again recently with the announcement that the popular South Korean zombie movie “Train to Busan” will be getting an American remake. Many fans of the original are skeptical, and rightfully so. 

There is a long history of mediocre American remakes of great foreign films. Great filmmakers can pull off remakes, like Martin Scorsese when he remade the Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs” into “The Departed,” a film which won the legendary director his first Oscar. 

But more often than not, the remakes cheapen the originals. 

I took a class over the summer where we studied foreign films, their cultural influences and compared some of them with American versions. 

Through this class, I was introduced to a pair of truly excellent foreign films and their remakes that were wholly disappointing. 

The first was a Dutch film called “The Vanishing” from 1988. This is an expertly told thriller with a truly chilling and unforgettable ending. It was then remade in 1993, by the same director, for American audiences with the same title. 

All the creativity of the original was totally absent in the remake. There was some symbolism in the original that was apparently deemed too complex for American audiences, so it was removed, and the entire movie was dumbed down throughout. 

Another foreign film I really enjoyed was an Argentinean film called “El Secreto de sus Ojos,” or “The Secret in Their Eyes,” that immediately become one of my favorite movies. 

It follows an investigator who is trying to solve a brutal murder of a young woman, while also trying to navigate feelings he has for a superior at work. The plot is intricate and not spelled out through dialogue, leaving the audience to try to interpret the behavior of the characters. It leads to a climax so impactful that every hair on my body stood on end once I realized what was happening. 

It also features an astonishing sequence at a soccer match that is filmed as a single, unbroken shot that is one of the best exercises in cinematography I have ever seen. 

The 2015 remake called “Secret in Their Eyes” dropped the “The” from the title and also left behind any shred of creativity that the original possessed. 

The plot changes felt arbitrary and a sequence at a baseball game that is supposed to evoke the soccer stadium scene in the original falls completely flat. 

There should be no need to remake foreign films.

American audiences are more than capable of reading subtitles, and if they refuse, they risk missing out on many great movies.

Adam Tumino is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].