Thursday, December 29, 2011


David Fincher has demonstrated his penchant for transcending conventions, as evidenced by his filmography - "Fight Club" (1999), "Panic Room" (2002), "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008), "The Social Network" (2010) and his unoffical policier trilogy, "Se7en" (1995), "Zodiac" (2006) and now an English-language remake of the Swedish sensation, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

An adaptation of the inaugural book in Stieg Larsson’s best-selling “Millennium” trilogy and, less directly, Niels Arden Oplev's first 2009 film version of the book, Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" looms as a shrewd commingling of up-to-minute, kick-ass grrrl outlawism and the core idea from Dashiell Hammett's "Thin Man" creation.

Despite the new paint job with its modern look, Fincher's hugely atmospheric film is driven by two characters who hark back to Nick and Nora Charles in their taste for righteousness and antiauthoritarianism.

In this case, it's disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played by a soulful Daniel Craig) and punk computer hacker Lisbeth (Rooney Mara, most mesmerizing), an abused young woman whose need for vengeance dovetils with Mikael's assignment to track down "a killer of women."

Withdrawn, never making eye contact and telegraphing a hurt that is palatable, Rooney Mara is a revelation in the sheer solipsism of her performance. Her Lisbeth personifies a term that has been applied to someone else on our cultural scene - she is very much The Other.

Which means she is singular.


Larry said...

Thanks for your clear observations, Joe. I hope to be sticking around and commenting. I appreciate that you didn't try to second-guess the source material's “political point of view” but rather dwelled on Fincher's "politics" - namely, command of the medium. He doesn't receive nearly the amount of attention and credit he so clearly deserves.

fs491 said...

This is very disciplined film. You might not think it was possible to make a film about a punk hacker without condescention or demeaning
clichés but Fincher did it.

Mike G. said...

Joe, your short essay on Fincher's film is intriguing and I will definitely keep it in mind when I eventually see the film - again.

Keith Bellows said...

Don’t think I’m not presuadable on THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. for me it sounds like a repeatable ecstatic experience in it’s own Hollywood way up there with the likes of, say, “Muholland Dr.” or “To Live & Die in L.A." - indeed focus of a cult of sorts to which I am long privy.

Jim Wright said...

Visually speaking, I think this is a real achievement. Fincher has a way of taking a single image and making it poetically resonant.
This is a movie that really immerses itself and the viewer in the ethos of its very specific time and place, and that’s really reflected in the way the director has meticulously controlled his lighting decisions.