Not to undermine Niels Arden Oplev for this film, as in truth, this film in itself is perhaps one of the most faithful novel adaptation I’ve ever seen, but I am now itching for Fincher’s take on its American remake. After all, Fincher has done journalist-slash-investigator thriller before to a very good effect (Zodiac). In other words, the material was more up the alley for Fincher even if whether Rooney Mara would be as good as Noomi Rapace as the titular Lisbeth Salander is remains to be seen.
Lisbeth Salander is a wounded heroine, at best. I’m in the middle of reading the second book and her dark past was still pretty much concealed. But it was dark, and that much is certain. The first book (and therefore the first film) introduces her as a more than competent hacker to which she uses it for her job as a private investigator to a great effect. However, she was an icy cold, highly introverted, and at a first glance, anything that you never wanted from a girl of twenty-four. In another segment, a certain Mikael Blomkvist was introduced. Branded as the last bastion of idealistic journalism, he was faced with libel, and lose to a billionaire Wennerström for a two months in prison. And finally, at the heart of it, and one that brings Salander and Blomkvist together, is a forty year-old murder case of Harriet Vanger. Together, Salander and Blomkvist, eventually went to the case and as the truth unravels, although the film took what I thought as its milder version, it was ugly.
The book is, obviously, far more richer than the film. Some revisions are made, and some side plots are omitted. But it was, as I say, one of the most faithful novel adaptation I’ve ever seen. Now, whenever I went into a film knowing full well that the film was adapted from a book, I tried to read the book first before going into it. As the results, even if I *always* tried to watch the film with a fresh perspective, I’d ended up making mental comparison and eventually felt dissatisfied with it. This film, however, gave me the sense that I’m re-reading the book but with moving pictures in it. It was consistent. The way I pictured the characters, the sceneries, and everything in between complimented and even augmented the expeirence. It was good, especially the chemistry between Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, which is subtle yet profound and fierce. Kudos to the Michael Nyqvist and especially Noomi Rapace to capture the inner emotional turmoil of each. As a whole, even if you hadn’t read the book, this film holds its own candle quite well. If you like a slow-burning thriller and mystery with interesting characters and don’t mind reading subtitles, you won’t be disappointed.
At 151 minutes, the film was long and to my surprise, I’ve seen people coming off before the film was finished. I guess each of us had a different pleasure. In my case, I didn’t know that the film ran this long. Not until the lights went on and I checked my watch and surprised to see that it ran almost three hours. Again I surmise, although the film lingers more than my liking after its climaxm with strong casts (save for the last few names), I found myself more and more curious on how Fincher, Daniel Craig, and especially, Rooney Mara tops this. I mean, really, Rooney Mara is too unremarkable to be Lisbeth Salander. But of course, I’m just a hobbyist whereas Fincher is a professional. He should see something that I don’t.
My rating: *** / **** – It sets the bar very high for Fincher. If Fincher’s remake doesn’t get at least a 3.5 rating from me, I’d be sorely disappointed. That was how good I rate this film, and how much I liked David Fincher.