The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner21/12/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 158 mins

Suitably stylish remake from director David Fincher, which succeeds thanks to a strong script, striking photography and superb performances from Craig and Mara.

What's it all about?
Directed by David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a remake of the 2009 Swedish thriller and is based on the same best-selling novel by Stieg Larsson. Daniel Craig stars as Mikael Blomkvist, a Swedish investigative journalist who's just lost a high profile libel case against a powerful businessman. With time to kill before he has to serve his prison sentence, Blomkvist is hired by the wealthy Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to investigate the disappearance of his 16 year old great-niece Harriet, some four decades earlier.

When Blomkvist asks for an assistant, Vanger's right-hand man (Steven Berkoff) recommends Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a punky, emotionally damaged, bisexual computer genius beset with tattoos and piercings. The two duly join forces and soon make progress on the case, which becomes increasingly disturbing with each new lead.

The Good
Given that he's already made two of the best serial killer films of the last 15 years (Seven and Zodiac), it's difficult to understand exactly why Fincher was drawn to remake The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, particularly as he stays largely faithful to the already excellent Swedish version, even to the point of choosing to keep both the setting and characters Swedish. That said, he has made a number of tweaks to the story, some of which (Lisbeth and Mikael's sexual relationship) work better than others (dropping Lisbeth's flashbacks, a drawn-out ending that fails to satisfy).

The performances are excellent, despite the fact that everyone speaks with an occasionally distracting Swedish accent. Craig is perfectly cast as the Hollywood version of original actor Mikael Nyqvist and he duly delivers a solid, likeable performance, while Mara wisely chooses to play Lisbeth very differently to Noomi Rapace's iconic portrayal, effecting a haunting vulnerability that works well. There's also strong support from Plummer, Berkoff and Robin Wright as Blomqvist's colleague-slash-married lover.

The Great
In addition, the film is beautifully shot (particularly the snowy landscapes), with Jeff Cronenweth's shadowy cinematography showcasing some suitably dark interiors, though you do wish someone would turn a light on occasionally. There's also a terrific score from Fincher collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Worth seeing?
Essentially, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo is a David Fincher remix – if you've seen the original, you'll enjoy Fincher's take on it and if you haven't, then this is an entertaining thriller that's faithful to the original novel and succeeds thanks to stylish direction, a superb script and terrific performances from its two leads.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (18)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 05:33

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