Remakes. Some are better left unmade, leaving the original to thrive for generations. Some, however, deserve a chance in the spotlight. This one deserves that chance. David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is full of his usual excellence, coupled with an outstanding performance by Rooney Mara. It is clear that these two work well together, after Fincher’s success with The Social Network, which to me really fast-forwarded his momentum in movies and television in the 2010s.
Along with Mara, the rest of this version’s leading cast is a force to be reckoned with. Daniel Craig, still fresh with Bond fame, and the stunningly talented Robin Wright are completely convincing in their onscreen relationship; Stellan Skarsgard provides a beautiful and terrifying performance that is inviting and then haunting, and Christopher Plummer is always amazing (even going on to win an Oscar for another film a year later, being the oldest person to win one!).
Besides knowing how to brilliantly cast (and direct that cast in) a movie, Fincher is capable of making an audience really remember his films. Every film he’s directed has made some kind of impact and are appreciated by many, even years later. As an actor and a lover of classics, a film that is still remembered and loved by new generations is something important to me, as audience appreciation is what makes many movies successful. Fincher has found a way to haunt an audience with his films, as they have a tendency to latch onto us, and make us think. He’s also great at making us squirm. Most movies he has had a hand in would not be considered horror, but there are definitely horrifying moments in his work. In Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander’s character goes through some incredible ordeals, some of which are displayed plainly for us, and even after reading the story and watching the previous movies, you feel uncomfortable watching what happens to her. You want her to get her revenge. You want her to succeed. I have to call back to Mara’s performance on this one because she was incredibly intense and authentic. She and Fincher found a way to bring even more high-paced tension and rawness to a story that’s been told before.
Tattoo has a slow build that suits the bleak tone of the story, and as psychological thrillers do, it creeps up on you. Right from the title sequence, the tone is set, with it’s flashing liquid-dark images and Trent Reznor’s score, making Fincher’s Tattoo immediately captivating. The film goes through all the tedious and frustrating work of a detective, and builds up to an explosive confrontation, and ends with the crime solved. But you still feel uneasy. There’s still a sinister feeling creeping up on you. There’s more story to be told.