More often than not Hollywood adaptations serve only to tamper with the original film, stamping “Americanism” all over it. Thankfully, David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo does not fall into this category. Fincher stands true to the story, maintaining the Swedish setting and gruesome nature of the events.
The storyline centres around the partnership of two extremely unlikely individuals: disgraced, dispirited journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and an extremely pissed off computer hacking, institutionalised Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). The two are brought together by a retired industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), with the task of unravelling a 40 year old mystery, the disappearance of his presumed dead niece, Harriot. The suspects are very clear in Henrik’s eyes, with his description of the job being “You will be investigating thieves, misers, bullies. The most detestable collection of people that you will ever meet, my family.” What unfolds is a who was where when on the day of her disappearance, reminiscent of a game of Cluedo.
Apart from a more attentive nurturing of the storyline, there is one factor that steps this film up a grade from the Swedish counterpart: Rooney Mara. Her ability to display anger and strength, yet vulnerability, at the same time portrays the deep emotional turmoil of Lisbeth in a way that Noomi Rapace never quite managed in the original. Lisbeth is an instantly iconic character, the deep injustice she feels at her treatment and abuse at the hands of the system results in a bubbling volcanic explosion within her that makes her an extremely fragile, yet vicious, character. This film will certainly be reflected upon as the birth of a star.
Fincher has created a tense, visually beautiful thriller that will leave viewers anticipating the forthcoming sequel. More often than not, remakes are a waste of time and money, but this is the exception to the rule.
3 out of 5