David Fincher is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today; he’s got a crisp visual sensibility, an obsessive eye for detail, and a one-of-a-kind sense for how to put a movie together. He’s also directed two of the most distinctive modern serial killer movies, SE7EN and ZODIAC, which makes him the perfect choice to adapt THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, the first book in Steig Larsson’s best-selling Millennium trilogy.
Daniel Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced investigative journalist who is hired by a wealthy businessman—played by Christopher Plummer—to solve a decades-old family mystery, which eventually puts him on the trail of a serial killer. There’s some pretty lurid stuff involved; nazis, incest, rape, patricide, but Fincher approaches it all with detached sense of precision.
If Blomkvist is the Dr. Watson of this story, than its Sherlock Holmes is the headstrong surveillance expert Lisbeth Salander. She’s played by Rooney Mara.
Fincher’s films are distinguished by his fascination with process—how one thing leads to another and then another. Here, he puts Salander and Blomkvist’s investigation front and center; and what makes GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO so compulsively engrossing as a thriller is the way it hones in on how these two people gather clues, piece together information and come to conclusions. You can almost call this movie an investigation of an investigation. It’s a big thumbs up from me.
CHRISTY: Big thumbs up from me as well until the absolute ending, and I’m not going to give it away, but the absolute last shot is different from the Swedish original, but prior to that, I kind of loved it more for different reasons than you did. You’re like the—you like the process, the details of it. I like the tone of it, and how Fincher’s tone is so different from the Swedish original, which was tense by being chilly. This is tense by being kind of sexy and sultry and fluid, and a lot of that has to do with Rooney Mara. She’s amazing in this.
IGNATIY: This is—I mean a complete transformation. Mara plays the young woman who dumps Mark Zuckerberg at the beginning of The Social Network that’s where most people are familiar with her. And totally unlike uh—her performance in that film. She’s barely recognizable.
CHRISTY: Yeah, right. She’s sexy. She’s smart. It’s a role we associate with Noomi Rapace who did it in the original films. Um, but she makes it totally her own. She and Daniel Craig have this great chemistry, and usually he is the big virile masculine one, and he lets her be that person in the equation, and it’s great.
IGNATIY: Yeah, and he—he kind of—he plays up the fogyishness of his character, you know, he’s always taking off, putting on, taking on—off his reading glasses, which are always, you know, hanging off of his chin.
IGNATIY: The—the film definitely plays up the age difference between the two characters more than I think the Swedish version did.
CHRISTY: Well, it’s—it’s very similar to the original, but then, it’s also different in terms of how people find things out; when they find things out. I think those changes are all improvements.
CHRISTY: In terms of, um, revealing what happens here in the story. So, yeah, I liked it a lot.