“The fear of offending is stronger than the fear of pain.”
David Fincher is a filmmaker whom I respect completely, not many I can actually say that about as wholeheartedly as I do for Fincher. His ability to make almost any kind of story into his own detailed chronicle in a way that is paced and at the same time visually appealing is almost unmatched. He almost redefined what a courtroom drama should be in 2010 with The Social Network. So with a remake of a more than competent Swedish adaptation of the novel by Stieg Larsson I was more interested than perturbed, which is saying a lot nowadays.
To say that the film was a disappointment to me is a bit harsh. However, what truly bothered me wasn’t that the movie was bad, which it wasn’t, but that it didn’t change anything about how I felt about the franchise. Like Let Me In, the Matt Reeves’ remake of Tomas Alfredson’s film Let The Right One In, it didn’t do much more than allow me the ability to watch the exact same film I loved without the pain of having to read subtitles for the entire two and a half hour runtime. The film was just as intriguing as the foreign film, since it was based on the same source, and thanks to the fact that the studio hired a great filmmaker to do the work the film was just as well staged and executed with a lot of the relationship and eerie character points that surrounded our socially estranged of a protagonist, Lisbeth (Rooney Mara).
So the question left to be answered is what does Fincher offer that Oplev didn’t give us two years ago? Honestly I can’t say. He showed me that his faith in Rooney Mara, who honestly only had two real scenes in The Social Network, was not poorly placed. Mara embodies the role of this jarring character to the extent that I’m almost certain that the next film she does where she doesn’t have all the piercings will probably freak me out. Fincher places a sense of detail into certain things that many other filmmakers don’t bother to do (memory can’t serve if the same level of detail was given in Oplev’s film) to the point where I could see competent SQL queries that Lisbeth were entering into the system during their investigations.
Does competence equal memorable? The answer is honestly no. For those of you who’ve never seen the 2009 Swedish film I can just imagine how impressed you are with the result, but for me the film just served as my second viewing of the same story. While I didn’t purposely revisit the Swedish film before seeing this translation so as not to just keep blurting out “I saw this already” as I’m doing here now, but honestly that’s all that came to mind as the film kept going along. I was engaged because I was so pleased to see the film again, but as the film was over and I left the cinema other than a few minor touches thanks to Fincher (a name I can’t stop bringing up in this review) added by being who he is as a filmmaker, and the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (also did the score for The Social Network) I can’t say anything else distinctly great about this film that isn’t available from two years prior.