Retrospective Film Review: David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Whether or not David Fincher’s remake trumps Niels Arden Oplev’s 2009 version is a matter of opinion, although one can’t help feel the game is rigged. Even with the Fincher/Zaillian/Craig pedigree, the nefarious Hollywood machine is up against a highly acclaimed m starless European sleeper. What is clear is that Fincher’s version is a brilliant, mesmerising watch.

As a director, he’s always been good at extracting the gleam from the grit (a weirdly old-school Maurice Binder-inspired title sequence, all gelatinous black oil, computer cable tendrils and contorted limbs and figures set this out from the start) and in Rooney Mara, he’s found his narrative kedge. This is undoubtedly her show. Her Lisbeth Salander is calmer and waifier than Noomi Rapace’s original, and at her most spunky or anguished, I was reminded of the film’s Swedish title Män som hatar kvinnor – Men Who Hate Women – more clearly than in the original.

The twisty plot unfolds with just the right amount of geek hacker-tech (Daniel Craig’s Blomkvist struggling with Mac OSX tickles), political and corporate deceit, action and villain-soliloquising. Fincher, then, with his eye for spectacular detail, knows how to orchestrate with a fundamental sense of structural and stylistic acumen that marries old-fashioned thriller sensibilities with a keenly contemporary edge (note another unsymphonic Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross score) that he’s been evolving since Se7en. Like Lisbeth tearing into the night on her bike, his future is so full of rich possibilities.

Words: Ash Verjee