For the second time in as many years Hollywood has come out to face up to the competition from outstanding Swedish cinema with remakes that, at the time of announcement, seemed indecently hasty.
Cashing in, one might conject? Maybe so, as the movies in question, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Let me in” could both be accused of copying the Swedish originals quite closely.
So, Boxing Day in the UK saw the much anticipated Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, stateside version, hit our screens and boy does the US cinema industry once again show that it can hold its own against European art house with some ease.
The original (Swedish) movie, which was adapted from a mega hit novel by Steigg Larson, was outstanding.
This reviewer gave it an IMDB score of 9.0. So how does this compare?
In a word. Admirably.
Indeed the US version actually communicates the story slightly more clearly than the Swedish adaptation (and that’s not a comment about subtitles).
The fact is, David Fincher is on fire and he has once again crafted a thriller that sits proudly alongside Se7en.
The film opens with a thundering, and truly awesome, cover of Led Zepellin’s Immigrant Song by Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose (the Social Network) – there’s a nice touch early in the movie when Lisbeth’s go to man for forgeries appears wearing a NIN T shirt – and the opening credits, again like se7en are worthy of an Oscar in their own right. Brilliantly mixing oil and flame (a theme that bookends the movie) they set the scene to perfection.
Black. Black as you can get.
You’ll probably know the plot if you’re reading this so I won’t go into it; it’s a complex and interwoven tale of historical murder and modern day defamation mixing religion, Nazism and extreme sexual torture, but it’s all handled with a restraint that makes it all the more shocking in a directorial masterclass by Fincher. With the exception of the brutally bad Benjamin Button, Fincher is building a body of work (including The Social Network, Fight Club, Zodiac The Panic Room and Se7en) that makes him the current king of the thriller and one of the best and most reliable directors in Hollywood.
Daniel Craig is very good in this but Rooney Mara blows him away with a performance every bit as good as Roomi Rapace’s in the Swedish version.
This is a languid, but often shocking, storytelling experience. It’s a great movie. Sure, it’s only really a pseudo cop film but it’s got everything that anyone loves about great film making could hope to see in a luxuriant 156 minutes.