Customer Review

68 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Problems of patriarchy, 18 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Although David Fincher's English-speaking remake is a superior film as cinema,the original made-for-TV Swedish film was rougher,more ragged,closer to the bone,the characters more threatened.The remake in Sweden stays true to the source,but has the jarring note of all the characters apart from Craig(Blomkvist) speaking with a Swedish accent. Rooney Mara captures a complexity of character-vulnerable,unhinged,sexy, detached,steely and feminine,losing the spikey brittleness and demonic energy of the original.This tale of rape-revenge as well as political thriller exposing Sweden's hidden history of fascism is superbly directed, smoothing out kinks and convolutions in the plot, streamlining the narrative,reducing psychology to data. When Salander, in a scene very late in the film, tells Blomkvist about her early life,it registers neither as a "revealing moment" nor as a glimpse into her "motivation," but as another datum.The opening credits a petrol-dripping kaleidoscope of bodies,flowers,keyboards,dragons to Led Zeppelin's `Immigrant Song', mimicing a James Bond opening,with Blomkvist played by the current Bond.But this new man is ultimately saved by Salander,who outclasses and dominates him.

At times the story seems on auto-pilot; the result is slick,funereally chilly:a movie about an investigativeprocess rather than a crime.In the Oplev version(2009),characters are uneasy,less confident, emotions are closer to the surface.Some heartfulness has been flushed out with the bathwater in Fincher's version despite Mara's fresh take on Salander.In Oplev's film we had the original(subtitled) Swedish and it captured the pulpy spirit of the bookbetter. In Fincher's film the cinematography and editing are excellent as are Trent Reznor's and Atticus Ros's score,a tissue of connective membrane for the dramatic information.We also get a superb cast of back-up actors: Plummer, Wright,Skarsgard,Berkoff,James and Richardson. In this film more than the original, the stories of Mikael and Lisbeth are kept separate for an extended period. We learn about the girl's state-appointed guardian (Yorick van Wageningen), who abused her, stole from her and terrorized her.Her attempts to avenge herself would make a movie of their own.When the two meet an hour in we are fully primed up as to their combined motivation,to identify the serial killer,as lovers.

Fincher and his team do a good job of setting out an intriguing story. Fincher has a distinct visual sensibility and a good sense of pacing, and the film derives much of its momentum from Mikael's sleuthing into the lives of the Vangers and Lisbeth's high-tech hacking, which passes the smell test more easily here than it did in Arden Oplev's version.We live vicariously through the two idealised central characters in a wish-fulfilment fantasy disguised as thriller.The irony is that of the two versions I prefer the awkward sincerity of the original.If you see subtitles, never ask for your money back!The original got there first.Here Mara is the elf at Christmas,Rapace the kabuki-demon.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 May 2012 17:10:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2012 17:11:38 BDT
B. Newlands says:
Thank you for telling me the whole story. Now I won't let my "Bond Fan" hubby force me to watch a film that you have described so fluidly. As I suspected this will make me want to lose my lunch (and dinner). People ask me why I like the old classics. This film and your discription makes me want to go see ANYTHING else but this. We get so many bodies, so much blood, so much to make a normal adult over 50 want to toss the cookies and the children out with the bathwater. Yes, I am mixing my metaphores just for you!
So there.
I hope you will also review some things I want to watch. Just don't tell me so much of the plot content.. I don't "do" soaps, so I don't need to read what is going to happen tomorrow, what happened yesterday and who got killed before I watch it. Suspense it what puts the DRAMA in drama.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 May 2012 15:39:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 May 2012 03:26:21 BDT
twooks says:
I'm surprised that there are still people out there who haven't read the books. But in any case - would disagree that the reviewer has written a spoiler, he is comparing two movies based on the same best selling book.
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