The Movie Special

DVD Reviews 'n More

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)

If you are not familiar with Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy or the original Swedish movie, from the opening sequence of this US remake you might think that you will be watching a Swedish Bond movie. Why did David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven and The Social Network) decide to put such sleek opening credit scene into a movie that moves on much slower pace is a mystery to me. Or maybe Fincher just misses directing music videos.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a faithful adaptation of the first book in the hugely successful trilogy. Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is a journalist who is in trouble after publishing something that was not true. He needs to lay low for a while and gets the perfect opportunity to do just that when an elderly industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) wants to hire him to dig up what really happened to his grand-niece, Harriet, 40 years ago. Blomkvist heads to the Vanger’s private but freezing island, where unravelling the old mystery turns into a hunt for a serial rapist killer. Blomkvist soon enlists help from a genius hacker but otherwise troubled Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Salander drifts from one trouble to another – the latest of them being her new guardian Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen), who likes to torture the young women in his custody. Lisbeth deals with him the same way she deals with everything – she ruthlessly defends herself. She might be haunted, but she is also a survivor.

Immigrant Song – Karen O with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Directed by David Fincher)

The book is a violent thriller and even though in this movie version the violence has been tuned down, the violent scenes still are brutal to the core. Violence is essential to this story – especially to Lisbeth’s story. And Lisbeth is what carries this movie; so casting her was the most important thing to get right. Is Mara Lisbeth? Almost, but I could not help but feel that she is missing some core essence of Lisbeth. Craig gives an underwhelming performance as Blomkvist – stripped down of all his charisma and yet women left and right seemed to be falling for his character. Stellan Skarsgard shines as Henrik Vanger’s nephew Martin. One thing I could not figure out was if everybody was supposed to have a Swedish accent or not – the accents were coming and going.

I watched this remake as I decided not to watch the original Swedish movie – thinking it might be too violent for my taste as I have read the book. I ended up with a mediocre film and cannot but think that maybe watching the original might have been a better decision.

Sorry, millions of people – I still cannot understand why these books and movies are such a phenomenon.

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April 2012
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