It was a matter of time I guess before somebody got the idea to remake the Swedish Millennium Trilogy. But it was a surprise it was going to be so fast after the release of the original trilogy in 2009 and by David Fincher no less. A director who has become one of the most notable directors of the last two decades ever since he broke through with Seven. A lot of people, especially in countries where English is the native language will not be familiar with the original movies, but since I am it’s hard not to compare it with the Swedish version but which I will try to avoid as much as possible.
The original received a four star review and to cut to the chase: the remake deserves the same rating. The reason for this is that the source material in both cases is very good and has been translated to the screen in a very good way. Fincher chose not to replace the setting to change everything so this hasn’t become a movie which is now situated in New York for instance. The choice to keep the movie in its original Swedish location might sound obvious, but a studio could have easily suggested/forced to complete convert the movie to an American movie including locations and names. The only problem which now occurs is that in some cases the people are talking English (with accents) but visible text in newspapers and on road signs are Swedish.
The movie, about a disgraced journalist who has to investigate the disappearance/murder of a retired rich industrialist, is filled with colorful characters and Fincher has a great cast to help him bring this story to life for a second time. Daniel Craig plays journalist Mikael Blomkvist and is aided by Rooney Mara’s character Lisbeth Salander; the goth hacker with a troubled past and a difficult present. Most of the movie is located on an island where one of the wealthiest families worldwide houses… All of whom have their own mansion on this island and as becomes quickly clear most of them are not talking to each other.
Blomkvist is hired by the family’s patriarch Henrik Vanger and together with Henriette’s brother seem to be the only ones who show him any hospitality.
The movie takes a lot of time to set up the characters and the two lead characters don’t run into each other halfway through. Before that everything is done to give them solid backgrounds, especially the character of Salander who is a ward of the state and raped by the man who’s in charge of her dossier. The only problem with the characters I had is that the family is quite large and it’s quite difficult to tell who’s who even though the focus lies on a small group of the family.
Being familiar with the story I obviously had feelings of deja vu as I’ve seen this entire story unfold in front of my eyes before only with different actors on different sets. Despite that I was still drawn into the story even though I knew the outcome. However I had forgotten who exactly was responsible for what.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is solid movie, but while David Fincher does a good job, he doesn’t really bring anything new to the story; now new take on the material. He stays true to the book, plays it safe and so we now have two movies that are practically the same only in a different language and with different actors. I’m not preferring one version above the other as neither of them is notably better or worse than the other.