Monday, December 26, 2011

The Girl with the James Bond Tattoo

It's movie season and I've seen a few over the past week, mainly good stuff. The one I was most itching to see was the adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher and screenwritten by Steven Zaillian. I've read the three books, I think about 1800pp. altogether, and saw the first of the Swedish film versions, so I've spent a whole lot of time with Lisbeth Salander (as well as Mikael Blomqvist) and have to admire the extreme high quality work in the new one. I have to admit to getting a wee bit emotional when Lisbeth first showed up and when Blomqvist finally learned of her existence -- having investigated him.

She's that powerful a character, a female James Bond for our 99% Century, the best new detective since Ian Fleming introduced Bond in 1953 (original, compelling, timely, slightly feral, attractive). The books are written in a similar style to Fleming's, third person but always very close to the characters' thoughts, with detail on the type of liquor/coffee they drink, how the meals effected them, and then of course the big action-fueling plots.

This is David Fincher's Bond movie, beautifully composed for the big screen while moving with stylish velocity, featuring a teaser followed by a main titles sequence that is just like those in the Bond series, just cranked to 11 (or 12) by Trent Reznor's supersonic cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and the speedy dark-side animation. He even has Daniel Craig starring in it, the best Bond since Sean Connery. It's the best Bond flick since Craig's Casino Royale, which is the best Bond flick since Thunderball.

Craig, Christopher Plummer, Stellen Skarsgard and the rest of the cast is great -- Robin Wright, in particular, seems to have come into her own lately, including her work in Moneyball and guest spot on Enlightened. And while I don't think Noomi Rapace will ever be effaced for how she originated the role, in actual Swedish, Rooney Mara successfully crosses the rubicon as a legit Lisbeth. Her chemistry with Craig works, and she certainly commits physically to the role. We need to be at least a little afraid of Lisbeth and she may be a little tougher than Rapace, if lacking the touch of Asiatic that seems to make Rapace one with the dragon up and down her back.

The six hundred pages are well-compressed, making some of the same decisions as the Swedish movie but really zipping through the exposition of solving the case as well as climaxing the set-up B plot. Per the structure of the book, unique in the series as the others have no Agatha Christie-type plot, but instead focus on Lisbeth's story, the movie runs about fifteen minutes longer than most due to the "prologue" plot that's needed to set up the main characters prior to tackling this particular murder mystery. The couple slight changes to the ending were fine, and one can only hope Fincher decides to do the next two.

Will he?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good review. I'm going later today.