Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thoughts on "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2011)

Without question, David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a much more accomplished, taut and ornamented adaptation of Steig Larsson's runaway bestseller than that wretched Swedish-language adaptation of a few years ago. 
Anyone claiming differently is either someone I don't like or cinematically inept. Fincher's film is carefully composed, meticulously arranged and accented, and the performances around the horn (including that of the film's composers, the impeccable duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) are significant improvements. 
The only question that arises is whether masterful compositions and flawless filmmaking can completely mask what a terribly ugly, boilerplate novel Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is, creating a fascinating disconnect, disparity between construct and material. 
Boorishly violent and clumsily plotted, even Fincher can't hide the fact that the climax of the novel's bass-line murder mystery (or hell, the majority of the second-half of the film) feels like, at times, a CBS procedural. 
Yet, like the true filmmaker that he is, Fincher turns this second or third-rate boilerplate stuff into something that is (although flawed) undoubtedly a work of his own. From the opening credits (which frankly, probably belonged in another film) it's clear that this is his show to run, and run with it he does - at least as far as he could go. [B-]

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