I’d seen the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and liked it. Having not read the Stieg Larsson trilogy of books, I was not really prepared for the level of grotesqueness involved in the story. Suffice it to say, when it was announced that David Fincher had signed on to direct a studio remake of the novel, the plot thickened in the gruesome department.
Of the two films, to be honest, and this is coming from a big time Fincher fan, I’d recommend seeing the Swedish film. It’s tighter. The protagonist, ‘Mikael Blomqvist’ is played by Micheal Nyqvist, and he brought a level of depth and introspection to the role that I think Daniel Craig took for granted in the studio version.
However, while the Swedish film might balance the intensity of the missing person mystery better, the title character in the Oscar nominated effort gets under your skin more – and then kicks you in the gut.
Rooney Mara played ‘Erica Albright’ in The Social Network. Fincher saw in her an ability to set up the heartbroken and spiteful
emotional thread of ‘Mark Zuckerberg.’ Enough so, that he opened his facebook film with a near ten page scene of wall-to-wall intellectual gymnastic dialogue. Sorkin and Fincher knew it would work. I’m sure the studio folks, and probably even the editor, had to see it to believe it. It did work. It’s a great opening scene – and Mara is largely responsible for its resonance.
Fincher took what worked in the original Dragon Tattoo and gave it a dose of his own trademark brand of brutal imagery. Remember, this guy gave us Seven, The Fight Club, and Zodiac. So, pretty predictable. What audiences could not have predicted was just how fully this relatively inexperienced young actress would embody the demanding title role.
Rooney Mara nails it. In fact, she nine inch nails it. You go, girl.