The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

You know the story by now. Boy meets girl. Boy rapes girl. Girl gets revenge by shoving a dildo up boy’s backside. They all live unhappily ever after. Yep, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is everywhere and has been for the past two years. It was a bestselling novel, a TV mini-series, and a Swedish movie sensation that took the world by storm. The end, right?

Not if Hollywood has anything to do with it. With remakes all the rage right now (and subtitles resolutely not), leave it to America to make the movie again, this time with English-speaking actors and a heavyweight director managing the megaphone. See, cynicism is director David Fincher’s first hurdle, and he knows it’s a tricky one. But he needn’t worry. He’s crafted a loving, brutal, darkly comic adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s original tome, as we knew he would. Problem is, there was already a loving, brutal and darkly comic adaptation of Larsson’s original tome. It came out two years ago, and Fincher’s film, though easily more stylish, is damn near a carbon copy.

Because of that, the surprises are few. Rooney Mara is clearly the deal breaker, snapping up the role made famous by Noomi Rapace. Happily, Mara is fantastic as the goth hacker, not content to rest in Rapace’s shadow and making her tattooed girl every bit as fierce, feisty and sporadically funny. Her dedication to the role (everything from the hair, to the body language and the accent is perfect) is admirable. She’s been Americanised only ever so slightly – Lisbeth now loves Happy Meals – but Fincher is clearly in love with his leading lady. So much so that he indulges the book’s pace-assassinating final scenes, in which Salander puts the world to rights and has her heart stomped on. It’s one of the film’s only real trips.

Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo is, by its own right, an extraordinary film positively creaking with the very best in Hollywood talent. It’s what it stands for that grates. It represents both the best and worst of Hollywood cinema. The aforementioned talent is clearly the best. But the pillaging of foreign cinema, not to mention the ‘we can do it better’ arrogance that remaking a perfectly workable film carries, can only ever be seen as utterly disdainful and something to condemn.

Still, there’s no denying Dragon Tattoo is a slickly shot, smartly edited thriller, as Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig, the only one playing a Swede but not adopting a strange accent) attempts to solve the decades old case of a dead girl. Like other Americanised remake Let Me In, though, throughout Tattoo you just can’t shake the feeling of crushing over-familiarity. Maybe in a few years when the phenomenon has settled, we’ll be able to re-examine Fincher’s film more objectively. For now, it merely feels completely unnecessary, if not something to be ashamed of. 3/5

18 Awesome Red Band Trailers

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Trailer: Very nearly a work of art in itself, combining blink-and-miss-‘em images with Karen O and Trent Reznor’s stirring, pulsing cover of ‘Immigrant Song’. Sadly it’s not available online at the moment.

Sex Or Violence: Both, of course. There’s a very shadowy shot of Rooney Mara mounting Daniel Craig (wahey), plus a snippet of Mara showering (just to show off the tattoo, of course). Meanwhile, Craig seems to take an epic beating.

Does It Use All The Best Bits? Very almost, from what we know from the Swedish version of Stieg Larsson’s book. Though Fincher’s hinted he’s changed the ending to make it “better”, so there should still be a few surprises in store.

Scott in space

“It’s daring, visceral and, hopefully, the last thing anyone expects,” raves Lost and Cowboys & Aliens writer Damon Lindelof. And rave he should; he’s just inked the script for Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s inscrutable new film and the director’s first sci-fi expedition since 1982’s Blade Runner. Originally set up as a prequel to Scott’s own genre-defining ’79 Alien, Prometheus has now (xeno)morphed into its own standalone beast. “While Alien was the jumping off point,” confides Scott, “out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology. The ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart.” Just what an Alien-inspired sci-fi has to do with the shamed Greek Titan Prometheus is anybody’s guess, though with original Swedish Girl With The Dragon Tattoo actress Noomi Rapace starring, we’re chomping at the bit to find out. Welcome back, Ridders.

Via Total Film

Girl with the funky new ‘do

Rooney Mara’s feeling rebellious. The former girl-next-door of horror redo A Nightmare On Elm Street and awards-attracter The Social Network has dyed her hair black, slashed it short, and peppered her body with tattoos. All in the name of art, of course, because this is Mara in full Lisbeth Salander regalia as the no-prisoners riot grrl of David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. “Before I read the book, I didn’t think I could do it,” Mara’s confessed. “I really wanted to be Lisbeth, but I thought I had no shot at it.” For Fincher, the 25-year-old Mara was the only one up to the task: “I wanted her from the beginning. She’s level-headed and hardworking; there was no way to dissuade her.” Word on the street is that Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Swedish crime novel comes with its own brand new ending – Salander holidaying in Disneyland? Somehow we doubt it.

Via Total Film