Friday, December 30, 2011

The American version of "The Girl With Dragon Tattoo" has great style but lacks in story.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. 2011

Cast:  Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara

Writers Steig Larsson (Novel),Steven Zallian(Screenwriter)

Director David Fincher.

***'s out of four.

David Fincher is best known for dark movies like "Se7en" and "Zodiac" so it would make sense that he adapt Steig Larsson's book for an English language audience.  For people not familiar with his earlier works, this is going to feel fresh and exciting, and I'm not saying that it isn't, but it's also something we have seen before and I'm not just talking about the 2009 Swedish version.  This  feels like Fincher is doing the same things  he's done before instead of trying something different.

For those of you who don't know the story by now.  Mikael Blomkvist(Daniel Craig)has lost a libel case against a cooperate millionaire and has to do jail time.  He is contacted by Henrik Vanger(Christopher Plummer) to investigate the murder of his niece Harriet whom he belives was caused by someone in his family.  As a reward for helping him out he will give Blomkivst evidence that will clear his name.  Elsewhere we meet the brilliant computer hacker Lisbeth Salander(Rooney Mara) who comes in contact with Mikael after a report she did on him for the firm that set out to hire him.  The two being a quest to track down the killer of Henrik Vanger's niece.

What this film does right is the casting of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander.  I like many was very skeptical of a relative unknown taking on this part but she is really good.  Not the kind of  award winning one she is getting so much praise for, but one that will lead to her to her better roles.  Daniel Craig has the right look for Mikael Blomkvist, but he has way too much confidence in his attitude and I never really fully bought the relationship between his and Mara's character.  He appears to be more of a ladies  man than a journalist. The look of the movie itself is so ice cold that even indoor scenes look like they were filmed inside a large freezer.  Almost everyone has a look that they have been outside for a long time even when they are inside. The Score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross does add some creepy tension to the look of it, but the more I watched it the more I became detached from the actual story.

I have read reviews and comments saying that this version is way better than the original, but I only detect subtle differences.  This remake/adaptation( take your pick) does follow the book more closely and it has material and characters not seen in the previous version.  The problem is that some of  those moments while essential to the plot in the novel seem to slow the movie down. Characters are introduced to be important, but are so rarely seen again.  I never understood why they are there in the first place.   It tries to explain the details behind Mikael's investigation of the millionaire before he lost the libel case. But that whole subplot is placed after the main mystery has already been solved and by than it felt really out of place.  Almost like it should have had it's own separate movie.  Still I was very impressed that the movie did not cut out some of the more brutal parts of the story. Although the performances from the actors are amazing and should be highly praised I never got disturbed the way that was intended from the books or the Swedish version. Many people who see this will have a much different reaction than me and feel very uncomfortable

(8 minute preview.)

For most people this will be their first introduction to these characters and this story.  I'm not going to try and tell people which version is better because that's all up to each individual.   David Fincher does a great job with this material but it's what we expect from him. I love the look and style of this movie very much, but after a while that's all I'm seeing.    It's not a bad thing to do material that your familiar with.  Hell Look at Alfred Hitchcock or David Lean, but than again they never tried to adapt something that was already made before.



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