Mikael Håfström’s latest film noir is a great looking film. The most common dream directors have must be to make it big and then get headhunted to Hollywood, the place where the big boys play with the big money. The new film Shanghai is a perfect example of this.
Mikael Håfström, a man that overnight became world famous for his Swedish film Evil (Ondskan). Not only was it considered one of the best book-to-film adaptations in Swedish history, it was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
It didn’t win the golden statue but it did however manage to pick up 3 awards at the Guldbagge Awards which is the Swedish version of the Oscars.
For the last couple of years Håfström has been making films in Hollywood with some of the biggest stars in the world. Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston in Derailed, Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack in 1408 and he is now finishing up a film by the name of The Rite with Anthony Hopkins.
His latest film is Shanghai, a big budget film noir that takes place in Shanghai during the Second World War. Luckily I got to see it during Stockholm Film Festival and this turned out to be one of my favorites of the festival.
John Cusack plays Paul, a spy who’s in Shanghai to investigate the murder of his friend. A task which puts him right in the middle of a whole lot of trouble. Love affairs, political assassinations and greed, it’s all just another day in Shanghai.
Mikael Håfström once again turns to John Cusack for the lead and Cusack fits into the part of Paul Soames like a perfect glove. Ken Watanabe from The Last Samurai and Chow Yun-Fat also give strong performances in a film that from start to finish look amazing.
This is without a doubt Håfströms biggest (budget is around 50 million dollars) and best film since Evil. I can’t wait for this to hit movie theatres so I can see it again. Shanghai will be released around the world in the beginning of next year.