For all the purist out there howling about Americans needlessly remaking foreign films (I’m looking at you, Spike Lee Oldboy detractors), here’s a public service announcement: it can work both ways, obvious with the Unforgiven remake trailer that just hit online.
Clint Eastwood’s award-winning Western Unforgiven is getting a makeover for Japanese audiences, casting the incomparable Ken Watanabe in Eastwood’s lead role. Of course we all loved him in Inception and as (the fake (spoiler)) Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins. And let’s not forget he also already has ties to Eastwood, having worked with him on Letters from Iwo Jima. Check out the trailer below.
And just like examples such as Scorsese’s The Departed, this trailer shows that remakes/reinterpretations have the potential to work when translated for a foreign audience. Watanabe is sure to be stellar in the role, the plot seems to follow the same beats in a different cultural setting, and if this trailer is any indication, the film is shot in a grittily beautiful way just like the original. The Japanese release is scheduled for September 13th of this year. If you’re interested, hopefully an indie cinema house near you grabs a print to screen soon after the Japanese opening; it’s always interesting to see such a cultural translation done well for the intended audience, as it tends to broaden everyone’s horizons when done right.