When the announcement came that Stieg Larssonâ€™s thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was getting the American remake treatment, like many, I winced. Too often, a domestic versioning ends up a dilution of the original, bloated with hyper-real action scenes and effects. But in the case of David Fincherâ€™s telling, Iâ€™m happy to say that the strength of the material justifies the revisit. Critics worldwide agreed, and the film earned multiple award nominations and a won a total of seven various awards.
Like its Swedish predecessor, the U.S. version tells the story of journalist and publisher Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), who, after having been framed in a libel scandal, is hired by an aging patriarch (Christopher Plummer), a onetime magnate obsessed with the 40-year-old unsolved murder of his favorite niece. Nimbly aided by Lisbeth Salander (the Oscar-nominated Rooney Mara) â€” a tattooed, pierced 24-year-old computer hacker whose disturbed past has her captive as a ward of the state â€” Mikael scours his clientâ€™s family and their Nazi past, landing the two of them in a web of deceit and cold fear.Â
While it doesnâ€™t delve as deeply into Swedish culture as Larssonâ€™s novel, the film does feature plenty of beautiful, icy imagery of Swedish vistas and cozy cottage life, along with an abundance of seriously disturbing violence â€” in particular violence against women â€” that I will argue is not only essential to the story, but in many ways is the story. Politics of gender and power are strongly in play here, and Lisbeth is a model of modern woman earnestly trying to change the game to play it on her own terms. That doesnâ€™t make it an easier film to watch or hear, but if you can weather the visceral challenge of its imagery, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is more than entertainment â€” itâ€™s a provocative experience that can challenge your perception.
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is available starting March 20 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
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