When journalist Mikael Blomkvist's (Daniel Craig) investigation into a fourty-year old missing person case hits a dead end, he enlists the help of a troubled computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara).
I guess I should start off by saying that having not read the books, my opinions are based solely on how I feel this film compares to the Swedish original. That said, David Fincher’s take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was rather impressive, but overall it didn’t hit me as soundly as the one that came before it. I could chalk this up to having known nothing about the original before walking into it last year and being blown away, but I think it’s more than that. There were several small tweaks made by Fincher – and again these may have very well been to line up with the book – that shifted the dynamic between the two main characters, I felt to their detriment.
In this version, Salander seemed a lot more outwardly invested in her relationship with Blomqvist. I preferred Niels Arden Oplev’s take where Salander was more nonchalant and guarded. The parallels between her past and how they related to the climax of this film were removed from Fincher’s version, as well. This was likely a choice to make this more of a stand-alone film than part of a trilogy, but I felt some depth was lost as a result.
This doesn’t however; take anything away from the performances. Mara, who was given the impossible task of filling the shoes of Noomi Rapace, is exceptional as Salander, playing it a little more wild and unstable. Her & Craig are very good together, but because the romantic relationship was a little more overt here, I didn’t find them as engaging as their Swedish counterparts. I did like that a lot more character stuff directly pertaining to Blomqvist and Salander was present though.
When it comes to the bells and whistles, Fincher comes out on top. It looks fantastic, and the locations very closely mirror those of the original. The best thing about the film was the score provided by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, which really helped along the extended sequences of exposition. A highlight of their work was the Led Zeppelin cover featured in the main titles.
It looks like something out of a Bond film, doesn’t it? It also reminded me a little of the Hell sequences from Event Horizon, but that could be because I just watched it again last weekend. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo perfectly suited Fincher’s sensibilities, and he did an admirable job. Even though I wasn’t on board with some of the changes, it’s still an exceptional thriller.
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