But still just one cyber-punk who hates men. Fincher is bringing Lisbeth back.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Directed by David Fincher | USA
Written by Steven Zaillian & Stieg Larsson (novel)
★ Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig
When I first heard that Hollywood had plans about producing its own version of the Swedish surprise hit, like many people my only thought was: "Why?". Is this about money, do they want to exploit the fame of the books and previous books? There is nothing you can improve, is there?
Moreover, I could not in the slightest imagine an other actress playing Lisbeth Salander than Noomi Rapace.
I then found out that it was Fincher, the creator of some of my favorite films of the past few years, who was going to direct the remake. Not fully convinced, I watched the leaked trailer some weeks later - and at that point I was finally hooked. Hooked by an unexpected amount of style, cool music and most surprisingly (seeming) originality. I was sure then, that I was going to love the film.
For those who have neither read the books nor seen any of the films: the trilogy revolves around Lisbeth Salander, a hacker and researcher that has been a minor of the state since she tried to kill her father when she was 12 years old. In the first part of the series, she has to clear up a 50 year old murder case with the help of journalist Mikael Blomkvist. However, the case is much more current than they initially think.
In reality, the film is more about the human psyche, their feelings and their errors.
What I like most about Finchers version of the film is, that it sticks more to the books than its Swedish precedent. For instance does it cast more light on Mikael's long-lasting affair with a married woman, and on the relationships between Mikael and respectively his daughter and Lisbeth. I felt that these human relations got overlooked a little in the original films, where one is never a hundred percent sure about the feelings the characters have for each other. As the story is quite brutal, I think it's important to focus on the characters' vulnerability, their fear and humanity, too.
The most eye-catching element of the film is its style, which is rather simple, but highly intensive and effective. Already the abstract, dark introductory sequence, underlined by Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", fascinates and puzzles the audience. Fincher's experience with creating music videos is plain to see: the visuals are a true treat.
I must warn you though, that one has to be somewhat hardened to be able to watch this movie, as many scenes are quite dreadful, especially on the silver screen.
Actually, I was rather surprised by the sex-scenes, which might even be described as boundless for an American "commercial" production. Maybe that's one of the reasons for its failure at the American box-office? (Despite its success among bloggers and film enthusiasts).
So how did it go with my beloved protagonist: in Finchers version, the cyber-punk is portrayed by newcomer Rooney Mara - and I must say that she outranged all my expectations. Her interpretation of Lisbeth is quite different from Noomi's, but nevertheless her performance was just as close to perfection as the Swede's. Daniel Craig, too, surprises with a distinctive portrayal of Mikael Blomkvist - his best of the ones I've seen. All supporting characters have been casted with great actors, particularly Robin Wright in the role of Mikael's long-lasting affair impressed me.
Summarized I must say that I prefer The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo over the Män som hatar kvinnor, if only a little. It is both small and the big details that make it an overall better film than the original: the style, the opportunity to identify with the characters, and its inclusion of some of the book's key scenes - most importantly the ending. Nonetheless, I can also highly recommend the Swedish films.
This is my original article for the Flensborg Avis (click to enlarge):