Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Not Just Any Old Girl

Nothing gets my back up more than the announcement of yet another remake especially as nothing seems sacred after recent reports of American Psycho (2000) and Point Break (1991) getting the treatment; however, David Fincher and Steven Zailian's upcoming 'remake' (or 're-adaptation' as they're marketing it) of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo hits theatres this month on the 26th and quite frankly I'm excited, ashamedly so I might add.

Should I be ashamed? Or am I the product of being a fan boy on three accounts? As a long time fan of David (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network) Fincher I can't shake off the anticipation for him returning to the thriller. Not only this but he has brought Trent Reznor on board once again for scoring duties, Reznor has teamed with Atticus Ross again after their brilliant work on The Social Network. I would normally be taking the attitude of Jules in Truffaut's Jules et Jim in saying "not this one Jim" leave this girl alone but alas I cannot. As a massive fan of Nine Inch Nails, Fincher, and yes Daniel Craig there is just too much here to write off and ignore.

The story depicts the efforts of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer Hacker Lisbeth Sander in finding the killer of a young girl in the Vanger family 36 years ago. Blomkvist is hired by Henrik Vanger - retired CEO of the Vanger corporation; he believes a member of his family killed his niece all that time ago and promises Blomkvist to free him of the sentence brought upon him from losing a libel case if he finds the truth of his family's dark past. Blomkvist and Salander form an unusual working and personal relationship as they close in on the killer.

A few months ago I wrote a piece about my thoughts on remakes after the announcement of Spike Lee's remake of Korean cult classic Oldboy (2003). My conclusion was that Hollywood is perhaps increasingly unimaginative lately due to the added pressure of our unfortunate economic climate and who can blame them? After all, the Hollywood studios always have and always will be a money making machine and is naive to think of them as anything else. The problem is with what audiences are willing to pay for, because of course if Hollywood's output is continuously diminishing and the audience figures keep rising then why should they try harder? Why should they take risks? Why shouldn't they do as little as possible for maximum return? The problem then sits on the shoulders of the audience.

There is a trend right now for American producers to buy the rights to make their own version of foreign successes and I for one can see how people are disappointed for Fincher taking this on as a project. Fincher could have crafted an excellent thriller that both remains faithful to Stieg Larsson's novel and also transcends and elevates it, but, isn't a man of Fincher's talents worth more than this? As a fan this does trouble me, however we really should look at the positives.

Through Fincher we can at least be glad that TGWTDT is in safe hands with a man that has carved his name in the genre. With the film's inevitably huge marketing campaign the film will be a success or at least a bigger success than it's Swedish counterpart. The extra exposure will encourage even more people to pick up copies of Larsson's novel and embark on the rest of his Millennium Trilogy. Going back to Fincher's handling of this project, in other hands this could easily have turned into a watered down nuts and bolts thriller that offensively tries to cash in on the widest audience possible; from the film's tagline "the feel bad film of the year" as well as Daniel Craig reporting that the film is an uncompromising adult drama means we can sit comfortably and knowingly that we should be in for a treat come December 26th. Seeing some of the film's evocative promotional posters (see below) indicates that Mr. Craig probably isn't exaggerating!

The only trouble the film could have and possible the element that will decide whether it sinks or swims is the performance of Rooney Mara giving us her interpretation of goth computer hacker (and possible aspergers sufferer) Lisbeth Salander - a complicated and much loved character that was faultlessly performed by Noomi Rapace and loved by both lovers of the books and films. Mara (25) had a small but pivotal role in The Social Network but hasn't had anything to really cut her teeth into until now, here she possibly has the most difficult task any actress has had all year - making audiences fall in love with Lisbeth again.

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