The feel bad movie of the season is upon us. As many of you loyal readers know, I'm the type of misanthrope who enjoys spending his free time during the holidays watching a marathon of violence, sexual abuse, and psychological carnage on the big screen. David Fincher's long awaited adaptation of Stieg Larsson's novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has finally arrived in theaters. It's a long and viscous film. But while it's a bleak and draining experience, like the Swedish winter itself, it's also jarringly beautiful.
I remember I was initially upset this movie was even being made. Larsson's novels, dubbed "the Millennium" trilogy, had already been adapted into a series of films in his native Sweden in 2009. Thanks to the power of Netflix, I watched these films and quickly fell under the spell of Lisbeth Salander aka, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. As noted before here at Jim's Fear, I'm not too fond of bumbling Hollywood remakes/cash grabs of superior foriegn films (LET ME IN =/ ). That being said...I'm a huge David Fincher fanboy so my initial fears of this adaptation were quelled when I heard he was attached to direct.
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As much as I love Fincher and enjoyed this new film, I must say I still prefer the previous Swedish version to this American one. True, Fincher's stylish camera work cannot be matched and his new film is supposed to be even more true to Larsson's original novel, something(s) just couldn't match the original. Rooney Mara's take on Lisabeth is breath taking and easily one of the best performances of 2011. In fact I'd say she's the best thing about this version. Noomi Rapace's portrayal of Lizabeth in the Swedish films is iconic and amazing for different reasons.The original film was more fluid/engaging and featured a stoic, almost two dimensional/Terminator- ish Rapace, playing Lisbeth like Joan Jett on crazy pills. Fincher's new film is the exact opposite. His Dragon Tattoo is sterile and exhausting but showcases a more open/moving portrayal of Lisabeth by Rooney Mara, who comes across as a reluctant gutter punk vixen. Both are amazing in their respective films, but for my money, it's the 2009 Swedish film > 2011 Hollywood version in the end.