High-profile remake news always gets punters wondering why ‘they never remake bad movies’. But the remake of a bad or middling movie just isn’t worth the column inches, which is why Cry Of The Owl, featuring Paddy Considine as a guy who separates from his wife, moves to the suburbs and begins syping on Julia Stiles before maybe murdering her fiancé, isn’t going to be splashed with the remake bucket. Scott Speedman is playing the fiancé, and Stiles is replacing original lead Sarah Polley.
The film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel but it’s also a de facto remake of Claude Chabrol’s version of the book, also called Cry Of The Owl once you translate from the French. Chabrol’s flick was one of his decent but hardly newsworthy mid-’80s efforts; it’s a creepy enough little social thriller, but nothing you need to push to the top of your queue.
(And this is just one more reminder that I really need to talk Jeremy into tag-teaming on a Chabrol appreciation series, though I really resist because I know he’d run circles around me in doing so.)
In reality, though, it’s more that Owl was middling Highsmith material than it was mid-road Chabrol. Sure, he didn’t push the material into the stratosphere, but if you’ve read or seen The Talented Mr. Ripley a lot of the notes in Owl are going to feel awfully familiar.
Writing and directing is second-time feature director Jamie Thraves, kinda known for The Low Down, music videos (Radiohead, Blur) and (more vaguely) for cutting footage he shot for one music video to the classic Bernard Herrmann Vertigo score for a short called Negative.
I’m less deterred by Thraves’ relative inexperience than I am by the loss of Polley, who will get me to see just about anything. I have no lack of respect for Stiles, but this is the sort of active but not too off-putting role I’d love to see Polley earn a check for.