After the success of The Social Network (and loss of the Oscar for best director), David Fincher had to do something extreme to follow his own very big footsteps. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was already adapted into a film in 2009 with decent success, even in America. I think if anyone else had tried to remake this, especially since it is still so fresh in everyone's mind, there would have been protests. Instead, Fincher assured everyone that his version (the English version) would be edgier, grittier, and even a little different. It’s not that much different, when you sit down and compare, and by Fincher’s high standards this doesn’t compare to some of his milestone-achieving works like Benjamin Button or Panic Room.

At the height of a public scandal, popular journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) is propositioned by one of Sweden’s richest old business men, Henrik Vanger (Plummer), to dig up the past and finally explain the disappearance of his 16 year old niece, Harriet. Mikael learns of an unusual girl (Mara) who did most of the research and spying on him for the other side in the scandal he was embarrassed over, so he hires her to assist him in this murder mystery. The rest of the Vanger family, who don’t speak to each other despite living on the same street, don’t want the controversial Mikael digging through their secrets and they all make that very clear.

The trailer, the racy posters, the idea of this story and all that it entails suggest this entire project is much cooler than it is. Fincher, known for his elaborate opening title sequences, borrows heavily from the new age James Bond films for this one. Likely the most exciting and ingenious opening title sequence of the year, it is, however, probably the “coolest” thing about the film. Once the story begins, Fincher does little outside of the revved up production value costs to make this substantially better or more exciting. The English version is just an expensive version of what we already saw. The wardrobe here must be commended; it's sleek, very tailored and tight fitting. Everyone in the cast, including Robin Wright and especially Daniel Craig, look runway ready.

Lie still, I’ve never done this before and there will be blood” says Lisbeth, the title character in one of the film’s most controversial scenes. Fincher was quoted as saying there was too much anal rape in the film for an Oscar nomination, but it’s the fact that there is nothing substantially innovative as compared to his recent work and the other film that will deny this film awards attention. Mara and Craig both seem to fit more snug in their roles than the previous actors; however, that might just be because of their English dialogue. Mara, while brave and good here, doesn’t outperform Noomi Rapace. I would say the performances are equal. I enjoyed the way adults treat or react to Lisbeth; it’s always fascinating, and how she uses Mikael for her own satisfaction. My recommendation is to see the Swedish version first, which cost $13 million. Then see Fincher’s version, which cost $100 million and see if that extra $87 million was really justified.

 Final Thought – Looks good, but feels exactly the same.

Grade B

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Michael Woody