David Fincher brings his own twisted take to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Starring Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, and Christopher Plummer. Rated 18A. Now playing
Ja, we like to make fun of their accents, but we know that the Swedes are a dark, diabolical crew because we’ve cried hot tears trying to build IKEA file cabinets. And the soul-disturbing original film version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was yet more proof that the land of Volvos, ABBA, and meatballs shelters some pretty sick puppies.
Now director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network), puppet master of stylish, sinister suspense and twisted storytelling, brings his Girl remake, clearly intending it to be an ice pick to our frontal lobes. Even Trent Reznor and Karen O’s eerie cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” over one of the creepiest ever opening-credits sequences makes scaredycats want to weep a little in anticipation.
Yes, Fincher (and writer Steven Zaillian) has a knack for tracking human monsters, and Stieg Larsson’s Nordic-noir source novel, helpfully, has loads—of the raping, torturing, Nazi, serial-killer sort—but, really, it’s all about the girl. Proving that no one is irreplaceable, the original’s Noomi Rapace totally owned the character of tatted, pierced, goth-punk, hacker-asskicker Lisbeth Salander, but this remake’s Rooney Mara also totally owns one of film’s wildest heroines. Lisbeth’s very existence is a cool act of vengeance, but she’s decent at the old ultraviolence against her evildoers, too.
Fascinating is the odd, edgy, erotic teaming of Lisbeth with journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig, nicely switched-on but inconsistently Swedish), hired by the head of the wealthy Vanger clan (Christopher Plummer) to solve a decades-old mystery. Cue the depravity and your own nasty, voyeuristic tendencies.
Incidentally, Stellan Skarsgård, playing a Vanger, is seriously perfecting his genteel-scary thing, and Robin Wright is warmly right as Mikael’s boss-lover. Is there a nagging feeling that the rather excellent original Girl needed no redo? Absolut. But torture scenes to the happy strains of Enya’s “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” are always needed.