I hadn’t even heard of this film until I went back to England at Christmas and saw the posters on billboards all over London in anticipation of its Boxing Day release. I then saw the trilogy of books by Stieg Larsson on my parents bookshelf which they’d read and enjoyed. With not enough time to read them I turned my attention to the original Swedish films which by luck were on sale in HMV at Heathrow Airport before I returned to Japan. I snapped them up and asked about the third one but unfortunately they didn’t have that.
It was quite nice watching a film without any knowledge of the storyline so that everything which happened was a complete surprise. This international re-make (or whatever you want to call it!) follows the original film closely to the extent that there is very little difference in the films apart from the fact that its in English. Therein lies a problem in where one may question what the point of this David Fincher adaptation is when there is already a fine Swedish/Danish one out there. Are western audiences really not prepared to watch any film with English subtitles if the language is not English. Well it seems so which is a shame as there are some great foreign language movies out there.
Furthermore, this 2011 version is also set in Sweden and stars many actors from that country playing Swedish characters speaking English which seems a little odd to me. I was thinking that this re-make would be moved to the United States or another English-speaking country with the same story played out in a different environment. Given that its not I see very little point in this one being made.
Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed this newer adaptation of the book and it entertained me albeit not quite as much as the original which has me on tenterhooks throughout as I was watching with baited breath for what was to come in each scene.
As for the sexual content, well I was pretty horrified when I saw the strong images in the original but I knew what was coming this time and this one didn’t shy away from copying those aversive scenes. I would have loved to have turned around to see the reaction of the Japanese during those moments.
Once I got beyond the fact that Daniel Craig wasn’t playing James Bond I very much got into his character Mikael Blomkvist who is the investigative journalist trying to crack an unsolved ‘who-done-it?’ mystery from 40 years ago on an isolated island in the north of Sweden.
Of course the real star of the film is Rooney Mara who follows in the footsteps of Noomi Rapace and delivers a more aggressive but equally fine performance as the enigmatic 23 year old bisexual computer hacker Lisbeth Salander; possibly the first screen heroine since Lara Croft. Of course I was comparing them from the offset and it took a while for her to grow on me but thats probably the idea with a character of such a unique personality and appearance.
The film played out a casual pace for the first couple of hours and seemingly sped up a bit in the final 40 minutes of a 158 minute film which just didn’t seem to want to end. I thought that it was gonna finish a few times before it did with an ending that is different to the Swedish one.