Last night while attending a screening for Sony’s Straw Dogs remake, the audience was given an 8 minute compilation of clips from David Fincher‘s upcoming film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I was unaware of this footage being presented and I think most people felt the same way. It took us all by surprise and that made it all the better. Before diving into my quick recap I can say one thing for sure, the footage presented was better than the entire Straw Dogs film that was to follow it!
David Fincher is a man of tone and style. All of his films are shot in such a unique way that no one can replicate. He dives into his source material and always manages to make something worth seeing for its own reasons. I’ve seen the original film, but it’s been awhile. While I really enjoyed the film I was still a little concerned with the point in remaking it and I’m here to tell you that David Fincher won’t disappoint come December 21st. The feel bad movie of Christmas will take a lot of people by surprise with how faithful it is to the original, while still adding its own tone, both in terms of visuals and audio.
The visuals are very dark, with lots of grays and blacks taking up most of the scenery. That being said, the cinematography still looks eye pleasing due to the very sharp image. I’m not sure if the film was shot with digital cameras or not, but it certainly looks like it was and it helps give it a different look, visually from the original.
The audio department is probably the biggest noticeable change because Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are in charge of scoring the film. Like last year’s The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a very specific musical feeling. It maintains that unorthodox vibe that Reznor and Ross give off with their music, but it’s much darker and dare I say uglier than their previous work and that’s a compliment. It’s very atmospheric and tension building and I can’t wait to buy myself a copy of the score!
As for the footage that was shown, it’s kind of hard to straight up review it or critique certain moments because the footage is heavily cut. It never stays in one scene for more than 30 or so seconds. Rooney Mara is shown as Lisbeth Salander, the unusual hacker who teams up with Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to solve a missing person’s case that has been open for 40 years.
Those of you worried about Mara not being able to recreate the character that Noomi Rapace played before her can put that to rest because she has nailed the look and feel of Lisbeth. I barely recognized her when comparing her to her character from The Social Network from just a year ago. Her face is pale and full of curiosity. Her body language is more subtle and important and her whole overall interpretation of the character is right on par with Rapace’s. I can see this landing her an Oscar nomination and maybe even a win. This is to her what The Joker was for Heath Ledger.
Daniel Craig probably made the smallest impact as Mikael. From the footage presented he still comes off as James Bond with less force. I really hope that’s the result of the footage shown and not his actual performance.
We also get brief glimpses of Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer and a few other important cast members. I think Fincher made some excellent casting decisions because pretty much everyone shown fits in just right.
One scene that we do get a very brief look at is the first interaction between Lisbeth and her guardian. Anyone who’s seen the original knows what this leads to and I must say watching the clip, knowing where it goes, still left me in an unsettling state of being. Fincher captures the tension really well and while I don’t think it will be as shocking as the original I do think it will surprise some viewers.
I think it’s safe to say after viewing this footage that David Fincher is on the right track in adapting the novel and original film. He’s definitely established his own unique visual tone as well as another memorable musical score by the pairing of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
The cast all looks and fits the parts, with Daniel Craig being the only questionable decision. I’m sure the final product will balance out the footage presented. The 8 minute footage of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has stirred up some discussion amongst casual viewers and given us film buffs something to look forward to this fall!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens in theaters on December 21st, 2011.