The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo feels colder than Swedish snow. The original ‘Millennium’ trilogy, native to Sweden, are decent adaptations of Larsson’s novels and accessibly engrossing for global audiences. Fincher’s American remake is a different beast entirely, taking a steelier approach that hosts an abundance of cinematic flair. A few narrative alterations change specific scenarios in comparison, however, it remains captivating throughout.
Renowned journalist Blomkvist is hired by a wealthy family to investigate a forty-year-old unsolved missing girl case, to which he recruits a professional hacker as his research assistant. Much like its source material, this is very much an investigative mystery that is powered by realism. Realistic jaded characters with tainted backstories. Realistic murders from a deranged serial killer. Realistic corruption of wealthy billionaires. Heck, even Salander’s hacking was realistic.
The central plot revolves around Blomkvist, with most of the runtime centred on the murder mystery, yet the ever intriguing Salander steals every scene. All thanks to Mara’s outstanding transformative performance that feels incredibly commanding. Craig was decent as Blomkvist, as were the supporting cast. However, it’s Fincher’s cold direction that sets this apart from the original.
The darkened filter highlighting the visceral grit of the mystery. Various quick cuts to illustrate the chaotic investigation. The trademark Fincher tracking shots that ooze sophistication. The story remains thrilling throughout. A few deviations from the original do detract from the overall story, particularly the final act that focuses on the Wennerström corruption case.
The film essentially begins with Blomkvist being hired for the case, instead of properly developing the recent lawsuit against him and Millenniun. This makes the final twenty minutes slow and derivative. Also wasn’t too sure on Salander’s emotional vulnerability towards Blomkvist, this was more subtle in the original. Fortunately, there are enough similarities and differences to make this adaptation just as compelling.