Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The girl with the dragon tattoo (2011)

Remakes are always a tricky business, as it’s very hard not to compare the adaptation with its original and with uniqueness not being much of an option, the movie really needs to  be spectacular in every way if it has any hopes of impressing. This would explain why I was quite nervous when I heard one of my all-time favourite directors; the incredible David Fincher was attempting a reinterpretation of Swedish director, Niels Arden Oplev’s 2009 international hit. However, 30 minutes into the movie, all of my uncertainties evaporated as I realised that I was watching something truly brilliant unfold.

In my review of the Swedish original, I actually compare the 2009 film with one of Fincher’s intensely beautiful crime-thrillers, Zodiac, noting that it’s a great movie, but not quite as good as Fincher’s 2007 cult hit. Seeing the original ‘Girl with the dragon Tattoo’, Fincher obviously realised that the highly emotional journey of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander fits his extremely detailed film style perfectly. This must be why he embarked on this ambitious mission of making it more accessible to an international film audience.
 
And as I already hinted, he delivers in spades, bringing to life a mystery suspense drama that successfully combines great acting, tight storytelling and captivating cinematography in one well-rounded package of a film. True to Fincher’s signature ways, the film is highly detailed, as the audience is plunged in the centre of a heated media debacle involving the film’s protagonist. Fincher doesn’t waste time explaining the film’s background or introducing the characters and immediately starts getting to the good stuff:  An enthralling story that involves murder, rape and a disquieting list of sinister subject matter.

“An enthralling story that involves murder, rape and a disquieting list of sinister subject matter.”

Daniel Craig might seem like a bit of an unlikely lead as a desperate journalist who finds his world in turmoil, but you’ll find it difficult to critique his fittingly cold and detached performance. Rooney Mara also manages to silence the critics, as she introduces Western film audiences to one of the most ambitiously complex film characters of recent history. Veteran actors like Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Joely Richardson and Geraldine James serve as fantastic physical as well as emotional obstacles for the leads to overcome as they try to unravel the dark mysteries of a small island community.

Whilst Fincher’s meticulous method of storytelling help to keep every minute interesting, it’s the film’s more intense scenes that are sure to get your pulse racing – These include a few very graphic and disturbing moments that you won’t soon forget. Fincher does however take his time, resulting in an engaging mystery thriller that is perfectly balanced between drama and suspense. And because everything happens at a gradual pace, the film’s more striking moments come over as just that much more intense and poignant.

To sum up, Fincher manages to improve on the original in almost each and every way, resulting in a very detailed film that is surprisingly accessible. Great acting, pacing and more than a few highly memorable scenes make this a movie you’ll be talking about for quite a while. I’m terribly excited to see Fincher continue his work on this captivating trilogy.

If you were wondering about the name of the film...
Highlight: Stepping right into the lion’s mouth leads to a bone-chilling confrontation and an unsettling speech that’s sure to leave you uncomfortable.