In 2009, a little foreign film based on a popular Swedish book by Stieg Larsson was released called “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” It showcased a breakthrough performance by Noomi Rapace (“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”) and stuck to a style all its own that both captivated and disgusted audiences. Of course, a remake was bound to happen. At the end of 2011, two short years later, we got it.
Now, I will get my original impressions about the film out of the way, as they are both less-than-stellar and contradictory to the way I feel now. And for those of you hoping I will reveal the gory details of the movie, you might as well turn the page. Pay for it as we all did, you cheap bast-…person.
The new version was directed by David Fincher (“Zodiac,” “The Social Network”), who seemed like a perfect candidate. It starred Daniel Craig and newcomer Rooney Mara (who I thought would be the last choice for the role).
Despite being blown away by the latter, I felt the movie had succumbed to “remakeinidous.” This means everything in the film felt unnecessary. I had already seen it all in the original. The punch had been dealt, leaving this one with no moves left.
But, as the days went on, I couldn’t help but feel the movie still with me. I began to re-evaluate the movie in my head. Although I still to this day feel the story lost a lot of its juice in its second cooking, I also believe that wasn’t Fincher’s point. He wanted to explore the lead character of Lizbeth Salander more closely. He wanted the audience to believe there was a soft center to her hard-candy shell. This gave the film an emotional investment not seen in the original, which does add originality and depth.
Having feelings for a character is a bond that is rare and should be treasured in movies. The end of this movie validates everything I’ve just said and is one of the best scenes of the year.
I give Fincher a lot of credit for understanding one part about remakes: You cannot change the story (especially if the original movie was based off a book) and you cannot change the theme, but you can explore it differently and reveal things not seen before. He did this with a lot of help from Mara in a perfect performance. It still may not be completely original in all aspects, but it’s still a great, admirable movie.