Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is in the process of losing his life savings after being lured into libeling a ruthless tycoon. With his reputation in shambles, he takes on a missing persons case, trying to find the niece of a missing industry giant who has been missing for 40 years. Moving to his Swedish island estate, where the only suspects are residents of the island at the time, Blomkvist enlists the talents of a brilliant but damaged investigator (Rooney Mara) to assist in finding the truth behind the mysterious disappearance. Since their initial release, Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy books have garnered worldwide acclaimed, as have the subsequent Swedish films. Despite the initial success of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", the film has been adapted into an American rendering, assumedly because the studios figure the subtitle shy movie going Americans hasn't seen Niels Arden Oplev's original and see a good means to capitalize. Despite this, the new offering ends up being so much more than that. David Fincher, one of the best American filmmakers going right now and at least the great technical wizard in the industry, puts his mark on the series and creates a gritty, and visual sublime near masterpiece. Although Noomi Rapace will always be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara makes a noble bid for the title and turns in a compelling performance. Daniel Craigis surprising and effective playing the sissified Bloomkvist, and veteran actors Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard turn in Oscar worthy performances (a scene with Craig and Skarsgard near the end of the film is one of the best I've seen all year). Although I'm hesitant to say so, the more I think about it the more I prefer this version to the original. As I read through reviews of the film, it seems as though critics are grasping for straws in looking for criticisms of this film, in order to subjugate it to the original. The only real criticism I've found or determined is that Fincher's version comes to closely on the heels of the excellent original, and as hard as it is to believe, tops it.