Thursday, December 29, 2011

this film is dragon on a bit

Here's a few plot spoilers to ruin the viewing experience for you should you decide to go and see the new film of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and you should, because it's really very good.

David Fincher's films, whatever their other qualities, are always visually stunning - Panic Room, Seven, Fight Club - and this is no exception. The eye-popping opening title sequence with lots of black figures and oil backed by a thunderous industrial version of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song is almost worth the admission price alone. Rooney Mara is exceptionally good as Lisbeth Salander - despite being skinnier than Noomi Rapace was in the Swedish film she's still not really physically tiny enough for the part, but there aren't many people who would be.

It's always interesting seeing a film where you've already read the book on which it's based - while this meant that the shock revelation that cuddly old Stellan SkarsgÄrd is actually a serial killer with a hermetically-sealed porn dungeon under his house wasn't a surprise to me it did mean that I could spend some time spotting what they'd changed for the film. There's not much, to be fair, but the two main things seem to be:
  • the brief relationship Mikael Blomkvist has with Cecilia Vanger is omitted, presumably as it doesn't add much to the plot and since Blomkvist is already boning both Salander and Erika Berger it wouldn't have left any time for sleuthing. They've taken the opportunity to make Cecilia (played by Geraldine James, who is 61) slightly older than in the book.
  • the revelation of Harriet Vanger's identity is handled completely differently - in the book the sleuths hack into Anita Vanger's phone as she calls Harriet in Australia to tell her Martin Vanger is dead and she can come home, while in the film Anita never makes the call and Blomkvist works out that this is because she is Harriet Vanger, having assumed Anita's identity at the time Anita helped her escape from the family home all those years ago.
None of which particularly detracts from the film, and you have to cut some corners when adapting a 533-page novel, or you end up with a 6-hour film (it's still a pretty beefy 158 minutes). I look forward to seeing who they're going to get to play Ronald Niedermann in the two sequels. Maybe they'll CGI him like in the two Hulk films.

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