It's a phrase and concept that can ignite fear and panic into the heart of film lovers every where. Whether it's a film or TV series the very mention of redoing an idea can be grave news to lovers of the original. Hollywood is synonymous with rebooting classic films with disastrous consequences.
The film follows disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, (Craig) after he loses a libel case against him for slander. To save his publication, Millennium Magazine, he resigns and is approached by a prominent industrialist with an offer. Henrik Vanger, (Christopher Plummer) offers Mikael a years salary to help him discover the fate of his niece who disappeared almost fourty years ago. Separately, hacker Lisbeth Salander, (Rooney Mara) uses her hacking skills to investigate the case and along with Blomkvist must help solve the mystery and uncover a dark secret dwelling in Sweden's history.
Based on the first in a trilogy of books written by Stieg Larsson between 2005-2007. Larsson partially based the character of Blomkvist on his own experiences as an investigative journalist. The character of Lisbeth is said to be based on a girl that Larsson witnessed an attack on in his youth. He wanted to create a female character that would go through her truama’s but strike back. Larsson had intended to write ten stories with the characters of Lisbeth and Mikael. He completed three which he delivered to his publishers before his untimely death in 2004. He never lived to see his works published and become a success.
With the books and films gaining notoriety in the States a remake was inevitable.
Chosen director David Fincher's approach was not to remake the Swedish films but go back to the original source material, Larsson’s novel. The result is a polished more faithful interpretation of the book. The original is good, but this is better proving that remakes are not always a disaster.
The most intriguing thing about Larsson's first Millennium novel is that it is a mystery that begs to be solved. Mikael is tasked with discovering the fate of Harriet Vanger, a girl who disappeared almost forty years ago. Mikael himself is sceptical that he will discover anything new but slowly, like the audience, he realises there is more to her disappearance than meets the eye.
He unlocks clues that take him to the heart of the Vanger family and a sadistic chapter in the family’s history. Like any good mystery the story intrigues you. You follow its trail of bread crumbs hoping to find the truth.
The role of Lisbeth Salander was a coveted one. With the original actress, Noomi Rapace, receiving great acclaim for her portrayal recasting her would always draw comparisons. Fincher made the admiral decision to go with a relatively unknown actress, Rooney Mara. Mara not only underwent a great physical transformation, (including hair cut, colour and multiple piercings) but also a mental one.
The character of Lisbeth is thought to suffer from Asperger syndrome, making her highly anti-social, introverted and displaying repetitive patterns of behaviour. Mara is able to fill the screen with an uncomftable air whenever present. Her indifference to everyone and everything around her is key to her role which Mara demonstrates brilliantly on screen.
The one thing that is bound to make audiences turn away is the violence of the film. This is not a happy date film but a study on violence against women told through a detective thriller narrative. For anyone who is a fan of the book, the violence is a large part of it. Larsson set out to create a lead character that does indeed have horrendous things happen to her but will always strike back with equal brutality. Considering that the film has been funded by a mainstream American studio they were brave in marketing it. The original trailer sold the film as the ‘Feel Bad Film of Christmas’. They knew that detracting or removing the films darker tones would not have been faithful to Larsson's novel
A slick, intriguing and superior remake that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Graphically violent but boosting a great heroine in Lisbeth. One of David Fincher’s best and with an opening title sequence that could make Bond jealous.
(Also, if you were impressed by the film's awesome teaser trailer then check out The Muppet parody The Pig with the Froggy Tattoo)