2.5/10 If you know nothing about this movie going in and check it out on Netflix, you will most likely enjoy it. However, if you follow film as closely as I do, you will know this is an American remake of the 2018 Danish film from writer/director Gustav Möller. The original film can be found on Hulu and I watched it right before seeing this newer version. Remakes should exist to update or put twists on older, familiar stories. Here, we get a lazy, copy and paste job like Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho” or Jon Favreau’s “The Lion King”. The names and locations are now American instead of Danish but if anything, minor changes that were made makes this remake worse in some ways. Screenwriter Nic Pizzolatto has a rather impressive resume with having worked on “True Detective”, making his work here extremely disappointing for such a talented writer. So many lines of dialogue are word for word from the original film. The plot follows the original beat for beat and even the running time is only five minutes different from the original. Again, if you haven’t seen the original, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is an original, entertaining movie. Jake Gyllenhaal does give a phenomenal performance and the pacing is strong. Some of the edits are well done and stood out and even the voice cast hired was great. I recognized one of the voices and it was fun to guess some of the others (I wrongly thought I heard Joe Pantoliano’s voice but it ended up being someone else). Despite strong acting and the few aspects that work, a couple minor changes that were made, made this version worse than the original. For example, in the original film, a score was rarely used as Möller let the intense dialogue be the commanding presence on screen to capture your attention. Here, the score more so distracted me from the dialogue as you could tell the music was trying so hard to be intense. Director Antoine Fuqua doesn’t allow the dialogue and performances to be enough for the viewer. Silence can be used to great effect, as the original film did but here Fuqua tries to overwhelm the viewer with emotion, to the movie’s detriment. Despite Gyllenhaal’s fantastic performance, we don’t know as much about his character as we should to be fully invested in what happens to him and the fact that he is a dick doesn’t help his cause. The ending of the original film was much stronger by having the lead protagonist making a confession in front of his colleagues vs. alone in this version. In this version our lead is also given what appears to be asthma or some form of breathing issues but his health woes adds nothing to his character. The ending is too on the nose and doesn’t give the audience enough credit while also changing the fate of a child character, which lessened the impact of what happened to them. Despite a couple aspects that work, the impressive fact that this was shot in 11 days and Gyllenhaal giving his all, the poor decision to make certain changes paired with the laziness of copying nearly everything from the original means you should skip this retread and hop on Hulu to check out the original 2018 film so you don’t feel…guilty.

#PizzolattoPhoningItIn / #WhenAStrangerCalls2 / #SnakesOnABrain / #CallOfDutyBlackCops / #AintNoCallerBackGirl / #LittleMissSonsDecline

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