Sunday, December 25, 2011

12-23-11: The Fincher Version

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011) (R) 158 mins. **** D: David Fincher. Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright.

A disgraced investigative journalist is hired to solve a decades old murder. In the process he takes on an assistant to help him unravel the seemingly unsolvable mystery.

A mere two years after the first adaptation, not to mention the complete trilogy, hit screens David Fincher directs the English language version of the same novel. This adaptation is in many ways equal to and at times better than the Swedish version. The only real drawback is that if you've seen the first there are absolutely no surprises. Had this been the first adaptation I would have been enraptured by the mystery as I was when I watched the first. In this case it's more like oh here's that scene, that was in the other one or that was different.

Craig does solid work as Mikael. A flawed, troubled, vulnerable person. Totally against type. Mara shines as Lisbeth. Her Lisbeth is equal to Noomi Rapace's while they are both clearly playing the same character but they are played distinctly. More emphasis is placed on their relationship which does actually change their dynamic. In the Swedish version Mikael came off as having an odd obsession with her that lacked any real romance. Not so here.

I have not read the book but on many accounts it is said to be closer to the source. It is well written and the direction is pure Fincher. From the James Bond like opening credits to the closing shot, you recognize him in every frame. This one looks much more cinematic and grander then the previous version. Like I said, because it's the second out of the gate it lacks any real suspense. Still, it's a pretty damn good movie.

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