Friday, 16 December 2011

Men Who Hate Women

Considering The Social Network was my favourite film of last year, and that this film had possibly one of the best trailers ever made, my anticipation for David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was somewhat... high.

Before you can comprehend the film has even started, Fincher rams into 5th gear with an intro that would put some of the best James Bond opening credits to shame. What follows is a highly stylised, highly cool (if slightly unnecessary) remake of Niels Arden Oplev's 2009 Swedish original.

Visually, the film has more in common with Fincher's latest efforts than the days of Seven and Fight Club. Dialogue is snappy, editing is lightning fast, and every shot could be considered as a piece of art (this film is just screaming for Blu-Ray). The film doesn't hold any punches with the original source material either; as Fincher delicately put it when commenting on the possibility of an Oscar: "there's too much anal rape in this movie”. All these factors mean there is plenty that are improved upon the 'made-for-TV' original.

There has been some critical concern about whether Rooney Mara can live up to Noomi Rapace's fantastic interpretation of the 'fiery' Lisbeth Salander. I can safely assure you that she is every bit as fearsome, vulnerable, and downright badass as her predecessor. Younger in age and lighter in frame, Mara carries a certain fragility that was missing in the Swedish version - making the 2nd act of the US version a lot more shocking.

However, as much fun as the film is, it does feel like a step backwards for Fincher. Not quite a shot-for-shot remake (à la Gus Van Sant's misconceived Psycho update), but there is simply not enough to make it stand out in it's own right. Even some of the composition of locations/characters looks exactly the same - which begs the question: did this really need a remake? And don't even get me started on Daniel Craig's accent (or lack of one).

Sick of Christmas films? This is the perfect antidote. Just don't expect another The Social Network.

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