I went to see this film last night and was genuinely blown away. I’d always wanted to read the book first but didn’t, as I’m one of those English Literature students who hates reading books. That stopped me from seeing the first films too - so I went into this film not knowing the story, but with high, Fincher-fuelled expectations.
I was aware of issues surrounding the casting of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander as she was relatively unknown at the time - only briefly appearing in Fincher’s 2010 film The Social Network. It was reported that the likes of Natalie Portman and Emma Watson were after role (presumably the reason for the latter’s drastic haircut.) Portman would have been very competent, although there would have been pressure on her so soon after her Black Swan Oscar win; Emma, on the other hand, would have a lot to prove, having only played one major role for her entire life. Fincher was right in casting Mara; the fact that she is not well known adds mystery and misanthrope to the character of Salander, and the raw, fierce power Mara channels will no doubt get her a well-earned Oscar nomination.
Daniel Craig casting is also very appropriate. He is older than the pompous, polished, arrogant Bond he was a few years ago - he has more wrinkles, more expressions. He epitomises the energetic yet ageing journalist well, and his protagonist is actually likeable for a change. Recognition should also be given to Stellan Skarsgård for his portrayal of Martin. The performance is raw, understated and haunting, very reminiscent of Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter.
Aside from good casting, the film has numerous other aspects to boast - for example, the contrasting cinematography allows to viewer to get lost in whatever environment that is presented. From the eerie whiteness of Hedeby Island to the clean, polished aesthetic of Martin’s house and basement. Fincher never loses the coolness associated with Fight Club and Seven - a particular scene involving a tattooing is the embodiment of ‘revenge’ and is very reminiscent of the Deadly Sin scenes in Seven. Fincher also adds exciting tracking shots following Lisbeth speeding on her motorbike and fast editing to convey the speed of her ability to hack computers. The styling of Mara’s character also inspired an entire H&M fashion line. To further add the ‘cool’ of the film, the Trent Reznor produced score fuses modern rock music with orchestral scores and finds the perfect balance between danger and grandeur that the story explores.
All in all, I felt the film was outstanding; I’ve never felt so thrilled by a thriller. My view is based entirely on David Fincher’s film, so I have no previous dedication to a previous telling of the story. He has managed to use his trademark visuals to convey the complexity of the story and add to it. No doubt the film will get the Academy Award recognition it deserves; as to wether it makes back its budget and gets commissioned for the trilogy, that remains to be seen. I can only hope that people go to see the film so we can all enjoy Fincher Playing With Fire and Kicking The Hornet’s Nest.
tagged as: film. film review. the girl with the dragon tattoo. david fincher. rooney mara. daniel craig.