Film review: The Girl With The Dragon TattooBy James Watkins
May 16, 2012
AFTER losing a high profile libel case, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired by Swedish industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to write his memoirs.
But it soon becomes clear that he is, in fact, there to solve the 40-year-old murder mystery of his niece, Harriet Vanger.
Adapting a worldwide best-selling novel, and one which has already been transformed into a critically acclaimed movie, will always be a momentous task, and one can question whether it is even a necessary project in the first place.
Surely if people want to see a film version of their favourite book, or avoid trawling through the pages altogether, they can cope with the foreign language adaptation.
So, is this Hollywood version simply made for those who are too lazy to read subtitles, or a profiteering vehicle to make money without having to formulate an original concept?
The answer is no – well, for the former at least. There is nothing lacklustre about this adaptation.
Visionary director David Fincher’s undeniable understanding of the thriller genre; his flawless ability to create tension and his unflinching capability of representing the harsh and explicit realism of violence makes for truly compelling viewing. That said, it is not for the fainthearted.
The stand-out success is Rooney Mara, who is excellent as cyberpunk Lisbeth Salander in a role to which she was clearly focused and committed.
She has the most harrowing scenes to deal with and performs them with an established maturity, which is surprising for someone who has seldom graced our screens.
Fincher’s decision to work with music composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for a second time after The Social Network pays off. Their brooding symphonies perfectly complement the plot’s enigmatic nature, and adds pace to the slower scenes when Slander and Blomvkivst are carrying out their meticulous research.
Despite all of this, it would be refreshing for those familiar with the text and the original Swedish film to have seen the outstanding cast and crew produce something new.
The film’s biggest mystery is why in its version of Sweden everyone speaks English yet reads in Swedish; perhaps an American setting would have given this adaption slightly more credibility that it deserves.
Only the bare minimum of a director’s commentary, but delivered by a director obviously passionate about his project and therefore offers intricate and fascinating behind-the-scenes detail.
Extras rating: 3/5