In 1995 my love for David Fincher films was born, 20 years old studying graphic design at college.This was the year what I regard as the director’s greatest film was released, the film’s start& end credit title sequences would inspire me to become a designer, the film was Se7en.The film became the template for my design style, the film became one of my all time favourite I adored that films that delved into cold hearted, darkest depths of the human soul, twisted, gritty but it hasn’t always been a shared love affair. 20 years own I waited with patted breath that one day a film like Se7en, would grace our cinema screens and December last year David Fincher answered my called When The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was unleashed in British cinemas. 5 months on the English language version of Steig Larsson’s literature classic has now arrived on DVD and Blu-Ray.
To say that David Fincher answered my plea is something of a little white lie as we know The Girl was originally released by Neils Arden Oplev in Sweden a few years earlier (a film I saw in 2010), it was one of the films I regarded as my ‘film education’ along with Vincent Cassel’s Jacques Mesrine double. These films opened my eyes to another exciting brave new world, a believe that there’s actually life outside of Hollywood, one at times is stronger at times, helping to create Cinehouse blog.Now Hollywood has its dirty hands on an arthouse classic, so can we regard David Fincher’s rendition a ‘classic’ too or is it another so called ‘cash cow’ to coax those people who too lazy or arrogant to read subtitles?
Daniel Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist a disgraced journalist who accepts an invitation to investigate a forty year old unsolved murder on behalf of the victim’s uncle Swedish industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). If Blomkvist accepts he will get a monetary reward along with a chance to get payback against the corrupt businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström but to succeed Mikael must look into the darkest depths of a collection of people described by Vanger as ‘thieves, musers, bullies and basically the most detestable collection of people that you’ll ever meet’, his family.Meanwhile tattooed punk hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is hired to investigate Blomkvist only to discover the truth behind the conspiracy which led to Blomkvist’s fall from grace. Eventually, fate drags the pair together and they start to uncover the long dark secret history of murder, sexual abuse that’s been festering beneath Sweden’s industrial past, evil creeps closer to engulf them both.
When it comes to adaptations especially ones of books, you’ll never please everyone. When it comes to a film with so much sentimental value as this film you sometimes ask yourself was there any need for another version so soon after the original version which is strong enough to stand on its own. David Fincher has created a version which like the original is strong enough to stand on its own as well as compliment the original, you can see similarities in both however the new version does seem a little more polished with the Swedish version a little more raw. This could be down to the fact the original is actually a mini-series created for tv which was released outside Scandinavia as feature length films, so if you look at it David Fincher’s adaptation of the Girl is really the books first true film version. One thing I will say about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, its another fine example of watching the film before you read the book, as you tend to appreciate both versions. I have the book but haven’t read it yet, so how faithful both film versions are to the book I’m not 100% certainly but looking at Fincher’s version you could say its been a little more faithful down to some scenes do look to have a little more depth like for example the Lisbeth’s set up of Wennerstrom.
What really stands out in the new version is the depth of the film’s characters. This franchise established Noomi Rapace as a talented actress whose performance help her gain a reputation as an actress whose is able to carry the film from start to finish, it’s a rare gift not many actors can achieve with ease and its one of the reasons why this film has been a success worldwide. Fans of the Noomi Rapace version cringed when Hollywood came calling, so when the truth came out about this film the question was, whose big enough to fill her shoes and replicate or even better her performance? Step forward, Rooney Mara. Been a fan of Rapace it was hard for me to admit Mara nails this with terrifying precision, capturing Lisbeth Slander’s vulnerability with perfection probably better than Oplev’s version, even showing her hostility to others, overall getting a good understanding why she’s such a trouble soul. I’ve found it hard to accept Daniel Craig as James Bond but as Mikael Blomkvist I have to say it’s his best performance to date a stubbornly determined person and has a great chemistry with Lisbeth Salander when the pair finally meet, keeping the pair apart for so long probably helps us appreciate both Mikael and Lisbeth.
David Fincher has created a well executed faithful that appears to be very faithful to the original source but adding a few of his trademark touches gives the film that strength to stand on its own as well as compliment the original. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a dark, twisted disturbing tale not scared to showcase the depraved side of the human soul confronting issues such as Rape, revenge in your face to get the true feeling of Lisbeth’s world. Once again Trent Reznor/Accitus Ross prove once again they are the kings of Film soundtracks with atmospheric rocking soundtrack back up with a superb opening title sequence that even a James Bond film would be jealous of.
★★★★| Paul Devine
Crime, Thriller| USA, 2011 | 18 | 23rd April 2012 (UK) | Sony Pictures | Dir.David Fincher |Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Plummer |