The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Full disclosure: I have never read the books that this American-financed remake is based upon, nor have I seen the hugely successful Swedish productions that followed it. A classy production all round, the source material is certainly elevated by Fincher's deft touch, while Craig and Mara are excellent company.
Craig is Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist, a man who has just been dragged through the courts for a story he published, having his good name ruined and life savings wiped in the process. Offered a job working for a rich Swedish family by Christopher Plummer's retrospective old man, Mikael is tasked with finding out who killed his niece over forty years ago. Before Mikael was hired, a background check was done on him by the genius-like (but socially awkward) Lisbeth Salander (Mara). Deciding that he needs a research assistant, the pair begin working together to get to the bottom of a mystery that has spanned decades.
Intrinsically layered and packed with characters and subplot, the thrill here for Fincher was obviously in pulling all of the threads together in a cohesive and exciting manner. There's an intensity to proceedings that he manages to stretch out over the two hour-plus running time. Visually stunning but not ostentatious, this is probably closest to his minor masterpiece Zodiac in terms of tone. It's a procedural thriller at its core, and the challenge here is at first engaging the audience. Zallian's script truncates the book skilfully, and the pace never falters enough for the audience to notice.
It will undoubtedly be an uncomfortable watch for some, but said disturbing scenes - and one in particular - are a turning point for Lisbeth, who doesn't get as much screen time as Blomkvist. While he's off sleuthing, she's going through a series of horrific ordeals and her subsequent actions make her an even more fascinating character.
There's no doubt about it, Mara is a revelation as Salander. Following in the footsteps of Noomi Repace was never going to be easy, but the American actress is excellent in a tricky role. Craig needed to impress after a couple of recent disappointments, and he turns in a solid performance here. Fincher's penchant for countless takes and ace casting pays dividends, as ever.
Not the director's best work by any stretch of the imagination, but this remake is cerebral, foreboding and generally atmospheric stuff.
Story by Mike Sheridan | 15:09 | Wednesday 25th April 2012 | DVD review
1. Read the books, easily the best stories I've read in a long while. 2. See the Swedish movies. Although I am a fan of Daniel Craig, I feel he was mis-cast in this role. Michael Nyqvist nails the character. The American movies just feels like a familiar story poorly re-told.Posted 20:55 | Thu 20th Dec 2012
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