The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2012)

11.

★★★★★

Back with a vengeance

Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Steven Zaillian (screenplay), Stieg Larsson (novel)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer

Even though Stieg Larsson’s best selling novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was adapted just a couple of years ago as a European hit, David Fincher proves not all American remakes have to be completely useless imitations. While Niels Arden Oplev’s film highlighted Noomi Rapace’s near-perfect performance as the enigmatic and complex Lisbeth Salander, Fincher’s remake draws our attention to the director’s own visually visceral and clean-cut take on Larsson’s taut thriller through a well-adapted script, well-cast performances and an energetic pace that is expertly timed to heighten suspense and resonate awe.

Paired perfectly

That’s not to say that Rooney Mara’s portrayal of Lisbeth is in any way inferior to Rapace’s. Instead, Fincher’s film gives each of the characters new interpretations and unseen qualities, and when these slight changes to characterization are executed with concentrated and powerful performances by Mara and Craig – watching the same story over again isn’t the bore one might expect. It is in the small but significant details then – given to Craig’s Blomkvist (likable, ordinary and sharp, despite how he might appear) and Mara’s Lisbeth (not as masculine as Rapace, but more childlike and vulnerable) – that sets the film apart from its predecessor.

In addition to this, the script is a lot cleaner than both the book and the last film. Every uncovered clue, its heavily researched follow up and the characters’ own development across the plot are unwound with clarity and a sense of economy. We get the full story, a strong sense of the characters and all the necessary ups and downs of a murder thriller without being distracted or lost.

Regardless of whether you have read the book, watched the original film and/or scoffed at the thought of yet another American remake, Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo deserves a watch as it looks at the story from a perspective that is fresh and wickedly exciting.

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