The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: David Fincher goes Hollywood on Sweden


It isn’t the downer it appears to be when I tell you the best part about this film is the opening credits. A nightmarish, amorphous vision in liquid monochrome, with an eardrum-frazzling score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I was so excited by the opening credits I forgot i was a bit miffed that this film even ‘needed’ to be remade at all. The rest of the film packs a punch, but the opening is really something to see.

So I don’t have to repeat the story here do I?  If you are one of the three people in the world who hasn’t read the books, then you must have seen or read reviews of the first ‘Dragon girl’ flicks. This film takes a bit of a swipe at the story-line. Personally, when the film is like this, (that is a pop film made from a pop book) I really prefer they stick with the story-line. After all, improving it is not what is required here. And if you are going to tamper, it’s better if you tamper ‘right’.

Plus they’ve committed the worst crime imaginable – they toned down Lisbeth Salander. She’s still bad-ass, but they attribute a lot of her power moments to others.  Oh, and a fair few of them go to Mikael himself.  Not sure why they had to do that.  Mikael Blomkvist stands up well in the novel series and he is a great male character. He’s more bad-ass here (mostly because he gets a few of Lisbeths power punches) but it does change the nature of his character considerably. They’ve also brought Lisbeth and Mikael closer together in the start, and actually managed to make her look a little love-sick. Which is…. well… just not done. Lisbeth is a person we get to know over the course of three books (films) and in this one she is meant to be cold and aloof – even if she does sleep with Mickael. She’s also regularly caught off her guard in this film.  That’s a no-no.

So, that’s a little odd. The first series did all of that a lot better. I have a soft spot for Lisbeth Salander. I happen to think she is one of the most interesting female characters seen in a novel for years. Its difficult not to compare the film with the first one, and in terms of characterisation and plot line, the first dragon films are winning at this point.

But David Fincher makes great films and this film does look wonderful. He’s played up the Wonnerstrom affair and gave us all a bit of a conetmpo ‘have a go at big bueinss” happy hour, which was relevent to the times. The opening credits are great and the soundtrack is excellent. There is an amazing industrial nose moment when Lisbeth is being forced to perform the blow job when a floor polisher sound has been reverbed and doubled over so that it moves to the foreground. Lots of interesting playing with sound that I really enjoyed. This would be a cool soundtrack.

It’s a long film, and I did find myself glancing at the time, however I was surprised to find I was almost at the end. So it almost 2.5 ours and it does go by fast.  there are plot gaps, but if you know the book they won’t be an issue. All in all if you are into suspense and intense characterisation, then you will have a lot of fun with this film.