I Saw A Film Today… The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I don’t really understand Hollywood’s fascination with remaking things. Take this remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  The original Swedish film is a fantastic film with an absolutely amazing performance from Noomi Rapace. It was also released in 2009, only two years ago. Now I know foreign films are not for everyone, especially here in the States for some reason. But does that really warrant a remake? Even with such a brilliant director at the helm and a great cast, do we really need to Americanize this story?

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Mikael Blomkvist (Danial Craig) is a journalist for the Swedish magazine Millennium who has just lost a libel case against a wealthy industrialist named Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. But at this low point in the journalist life he is offered a new job opportunity- solving a 36-year mystery involving the disappearance of a young girl who is the niece of another Industrialist named Henrik Vagner (Christopher Plummer). The Icing on the cake for Mikael? Vagner claims to have incriminating information on Wennerstrom.

Elsewhere in Stockholm is Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a 24-year-old who works as an investigator for a Security company and did Blomkvist’s background check for the Vagner group, is in her own kind of trouble. After her legal guardian has a stroke, she now reports to perverted lawyer Nils Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen) who takes strict control over her bank account. And when she needs money, she must perform sexual acts for him.

Eventually, Lisbeth and Mikael come together to solve the mystery together. But the further the two dig into the Vagner past, the more someone wants to keep them from making the hole deeper. Which member of the Vagner family is keeping a secret?

David Fincher’s adaptation is simply great. If you are a fan of the Fight Club and The Social Network director then you will find this film compares well to his other works. It is dark and more graphic than I expected from it. It takes what the original 2009 Swedish film did and in some areas improves. Although I could have used without some of the product placements. Google, Coca Cola, Lenovo, McDonald’s, I was just waiting for a Facebook ad to pop up.

As I said, this film is very graphic. The despicable sexual acts that Lisbeth has to go through with her lawyer are presented in an uncomfortable and brutal way, as are the forced acts themselves. And the subsequent revenge that she gets is just as graphic (yet rewarding in a sadistic way). I have no problems with nudity or violence in film and I certainly don’t take issue with it here. But I do caution the parents who think just because 14-year-old Sally read the book they should see the film. For once, on this rare occasion, heed the MPAA’s rating (something you wont hear me say often).

Performances are great. Rooney Mara is a strong and brilliant Lisbeth Salander. Better than Noomi Rapace? No. But then again I can’t think of a better replacement than Ms. Mara right off the top of my head. On the other hand, I believe that Daniel Craig may be a better Mikael Blomkvist than Michael Nyqvist (not to take away from his fantastic performance). He’s more debonair and more masculine. And in a year where he has not had a great selection of roles (Cowboys and Aliens anyone?), it’s nice to remind everyone he has serious skills. And with a supporting cast consisting of Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard, you can’t go wrong.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a very good film. But I bring to your attention: was this remake even necessary? There is nothing terribly different from the original film except for a few plot points and this one is under the direction of David Fincher. Especially one that was only made two years ago.

Verdict: SEE IT!

*Rated R for brutal violent content including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language.

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3 Responses to “I Saw A Film Today… The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

  1. It’s certainly worth seeing if you missed the original. If you saw it, however, there’s no way of unseeing it, and nothing in the new one to top it. Craig and Mara are great here though and Fincher brings so much more to this film like I was expecting too. Good review Kev.

  2. Nice review. While I’m a big fan of Fight Club and Se7en, I just couldn’t get into this one for some reason. Oddly, while this one had some more explicit sexual violence than the other ones, I actually found it to be less dark. It seemed like it was less mysterious to me, and the psychological aspects that I’ve come to love from Fincher weren’t really there. Glad you liked it though!

  3. Nice review. My opinion was that it was unnecessary. To me it felt more or less like a shot-by-shot remake. When it comes to the rape scene I did find the one in the Swedish film to be even more terrifying.

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