Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

Normally I miss the "big thing" books and movies, and certainly would have avoided this one were more in control of my movie-going schedule. My favorite example is The Silence of the Lambs, which I have not read, and did not see on film until probably 1999, eight years after its release. I am, however, happy I did get to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. this past weekend.

I have not seen all of the Swedish version of the film, but the wife says it is similar with a few modifications. Frankly I was concerned that Hollywood would tone it down a bit. There are some particularly disturbing scenes in the original which I thought a version intended for US audiences would have shied away from. Also, I was afraid it would be too slick. Warning, the opening credits looks like a Bond film with the only music they could come up with to indicate Sweden; Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" performed by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus. When this came on I literally covered my face and wondered just what in the hell I had gotten myself into. Fortunately, once the opening credits ended, so too did the overly polished feel.

I will say that Daniel Craig was an excellent choice for protagonist Mikael Blomkvist, and while I preferred Noomi Rapace's portrayal of co-protagonist Lisbeth Salander, Rooney Mara was quite good if a tad overly sensuous for the role. Craig did not force a Swedish accent (few of the actors did) and easily shed his James Bond image to become a serious, if overly attractive, investigative journalist.

Fortunately I did not know the story so well that I predicted the ending. As is always the case with murder mysteries you know that if the butler didn't do it then the least likely candidate did, but they did a nice job of not tipping their hand. The story has a bit of a Phillip Marlowe feel... a sort of creeping paranoia that lacks direction and is not so strong as to make it the sole point of the movie.

In all it was pretty enjoyable. There were some things I might have changed, but not much. It is a nice looking film and hearkens back to the '70s and '80s in many ways. If you like a good serial killer investigation movie, and don't mind a little rapiness then I recommend it.


T. Roger Thomas said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this myself.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I watched the Swedish version afterward, and it made me disappointed in the US version. I decided to go with this post anyway, as in all it was a solid film despite its deviations from the original. I try not to be one of those "ugh, the original was better" kind of guys, but there was a serious (in my mind) character exclusion that it seems will effect how sequels will be presented.

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