The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – A Preview

The New Year is upon us which means that awards season is in its final stages. And one film yet to be released that has been tipped for some form of Oscar glory is David Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo follows disgraced financial Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and his aide Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), who at the behest of Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), attempt to search for his niece who has been missing for over 40 years as he believes his corrupt family has something to do with it.

The announcement that Hollywood had chosen to make this film despite the Swedish Original being so successful, having to date grossed over $200,000,000 dollars worldwide, may have come as a shock to some people as the general consensus was that it would be quite difficult to top a film that is already very good.  But the fact that the Swedish film only made $10,000,000 at the U.S box office, yet the book had been read by millions, suggested there was room to cash in on an English language version.  Much to the disapproval of Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish adaptation who mused “Why would they remake something when they can just go see the original?’ Everybody who loves film will go see the original one.”  What he fails to understand though, is that the film is not a remake of his movie, but more a “reimagining” as David Fincher’s version was scripted by Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian of Schindler’s List fame who has insisted that he has never seen the original film and his screenplay is based solely on Steig Larrsons novel.

I usually abhor remakes of foreign language films, seeing them as nothing more than ways for Hollywood to cash in on the loyal cinema going public, especially when if the original is a great film.  Neils Arden Oplev’s original was dark, gritty, and a great, suspenseful modern day film noir. Noomi Rapace’s performance as the haunted Lisbeth was so good people campaigned for her to get an Oscar nomination.  So, much like Spike Lee’s reimaging of Oldboy, I just didn’t see a need for the film to be made.

That was until I saw the first pulsating, energetic and downright cool trailer which featured Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song which suggested, with all bias aside, Fincher’s version could actually surpass the original. But as we all know, a great trailer doesn’t make a great film, but still people are talking up David Fincher’s Oscar hopes, and just because it’s a remake, doesn’t mean it will hurt his chances.  Just look at Martin Scorsese with The Departed.  But what does the man himself have to say when pressed about his films Oscar potential?  “There’s too much anal rape in this movie…I think we’re safe”. However, I remember him writing off his previous works effort which happened to be a small film called The Social Network which went on to receive 8 nominations.  So if it’s anywhere near as good as that, I’ll be very happy.

(First published in January’s issue of Groove Korea Magazine)

Categories: Film, Previews

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