David Fincher Goes on the Dark Side With The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

David Fincher’s English version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on the Stieg Larsen thriller takes a walk on the dark side. Fans of the trilogy about the heavily tattooed computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander waited anxiously to see how Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) would handle the movie and how young Rooney Mara would replace Noomi Rapace in the title role.

I am not sure if I can fairly compare the two movies or the two actresses, even though the movies are based on the same book, they are quite different. David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is much darker and grittier than the Swedish movie.

One of the things I liked about the way Fincher made this movie, is that he didn’t Americanize the story.  Filmed in Uppsala and Stockholm, Sweden, the movie is distinctly Swedish with accents and everything.

Lisbeth Salander

Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander

Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander was different from Noomi Rapace’s portrayal of the character. While Rooney’s Lisbeth seemed more like a wounded bird who was mad at the whole world, Noomi’s Lisbeth was just plain angry and hated everyone. You could see the pain in Rooney’s eyes, masked by the dark hair, black eyeliner and piercings. This is a girl who has suffered, but has survived by not letting her emotions get in the way.

During one particularing brutal scene [which made me cry, even though I knew it was coming]. Director David Fincher didn’t pull the camera away from the terror and pain during this scene, which made it all the more brutal. Perhaps that was a good choice, but I could have gone without seeing it.

Mikael Blomkvist

I am not usually a fan a Daniel Craig, but he was perfect for the role of the disgraced journalist.  Unlike his role in the Bond films, as Mikael, Craig was out of his element when he discovers that the disappearance of a young girl is tied to a serial killer.

In the 2009 Swedish movie, the role was played by Michael Nyqvist, seen recently in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Movie vs. Book vs. Movie

Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

Mikael Blomlvist has recently lost a libel suit. Disgraced and facing severe financial losses he takes a job with Henrik  Vanger in icy, northern Sweden. Vanger, a wealthy, aging businessman hires Mikael to allegedly write his memoirs, but the truth is he wants him to investigate the disappearance of his niece in 1964. Christopher Plummer plays the older Henrik and Julian Sands plays the younger Henrik in the 1964 flashbacks.

Soon, Mikael realizes he is over his head and needs an assistant to help with the research and he eventually contacts the mysterious girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander. Together, they unravel a decades long trail of murder and torture.

There are very few changes to the movie from the book. However, the change that was made is pretty major. Truthfully, it doesn’t ruin the movie, even if you have read all 3 novels. It just shortens the story a bit. I was not disappointed.

The movie includes scenes which lead into the next story, The Girl Who Played With Fire, hopefully that means they plan to film the remaining 2 movies of the trilogy.

Fans of the 2009 Swedish movie with Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist can pick this movie apart, but I took them as totally different films using the same source material. What do you think?

So, what do you think of this version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Did you read the novels?
About Clara Mathews

Clarabela (Clara Mathews) is freelance web content copywriter, professional blogger and Hugh Jackman fan. In addition to writing about her love of movies at JustChickFlicks.com, Clarabela is also a regular contributor to DignityZine.  Follow Just Chick Flicks on Facebook.