Contraband:From Iceland to New Orleans via Chinatown?

Contraband  (trailer at the link) represents an interesting journey, and not just for smuggled currency. Arnaldur Indridason (Indriðason) co-wrote the screenplay for the award-winning movie upon which it’s based, Reykjavik-Rotterdam, a film about smuggling alcohol produced by and starring Baltasar Kormákur. To any questions you may have about Indridason as a film guy, the Icelandic novelist answers:

I like all kinds of movies and directors, having been a film critic for many years: Westerns and SciFi are favorites, also film noirs like Double Indemnity—and pretty much everything by Billy Wilder.  My all time favorite movie is Citizen Kane. I think the writing in Chinatown is probably the best there is.

Can’t argue with those inspirations.  Fellow Icelander Kormákur stayed involved enough to direct the American version himself, with a script by a new writer who Kormákur championed, though original credits for Indridason and Óskar Jónasson also remain. Actor Mark Walhberg was reportedly the director’s own top choice to play his role. Obviously, the title had to change, since the run from the capitol of Iceland to a “backwater” in Holland now goes between the port of New Orleans and the Panama Canal.

Now that this ex-pat Icelandic smuggling saga has docked in the top spot at the box office this weekend, we can ask—have you seen it or the original? Is anything lost in translation?

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