Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA/Sweden/United Kingdom/Germany, 2011. Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Scott Rudin Productions, Yellow Bird, Film Rites, Ground Control. Screenplay by Steven Zaillian, based on the novel Man som Hatar Kvinnor by Stieg Larsson. Cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth. Produced by Cean Chaffin, Scott Rudin, Soren Staermose, Ole Sondberg. Music by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross. Production Design by Donald Graham Burt. Costume Design by Trish Summerville. Film Editing by Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall. Academy Awards 2011. American Film Institute 2011. Golden Globe Awards 2011. Washington Film Critics Awards 2011.
David Fincher adapts Stieg Larsson’s phenomenally successful novel, hot on the heels of the Swedish trilogy of films that were made in 2009-2010 for an almost on-par experience. Daniel Craig plays a magazine journalist whose career is nearly destroyed by a libel suit brought about by his maligning a corporate bigwig without sufficient evidence. When the opportunity comes to do a private gig for a wealthy recluse (Christopher Plummer) and get away from the big city, he takes it, suddenly finding himself plunged into the dark history of an industrial family whose one member, a young woman, went missing decades earlier without explanation. It is not long before a tattooed, multiply-pierced expert hacker (Rooney Mara) who was originally hired to investigate him shows up to help with solving the mystery, her angry, opaque personality meshing extremely well with his jaded world-weariness. It’s a stylish and exciting movie but it doesn’t quite have the zip of the first version; Fincher is far more interested in showing off his glinty cinematography and stainless steel production design rather than getting his hands dirty in the fun of unmasking clues that made the original so rich. The long, drawn-out sequences that screenwriter Steven Zaillian creates also include a lot of extraneous details that we simply do not need, while Mara holds her own but does not pull off the character as believably as Noomi Rapace did. That said, it is only marginally less invigorating than its predecessor, and perhaps seeing it without the experience of Niels Oplev’s version will make it less underwhelming.