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Marshall Fine

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Movie Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- Unnecessary

Posted: 12/19/11 12:22 PM ET

Given that the Swedish film of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is pretty damn good, was it really necessary for Hollywood to weigh in with its own version?

Of course. Not to do so would be leaving money on the table.

There are millions of Americans who have devoured Larsson's mega-best-selling book -- and the rest of his trilogy -- who would never dream of submitting themselves to a Swedish movie with subtitles. That same mass audience would dearly love to see a movie version -- and there are millions more who woud watch it without even reading the books.

So the question is not why Hollywood would make its own version; rather, the "duh" question is -- why wouldn't they? Not to do so seems counterintuitive.

Which is why we now are confronted with David Fincher's version of the Larsson novel. But Fincher, aside from a few visual fillips, has not cracked this novel in a new way or plumbed it for previously undiscovered depths. His visual approach is different, but not so much that the material seems newly revealed.

Is Fincher's film better than Oplev's? Not really. It's different; it's probably as good as the Swedish version. But better? Nope, sorry -- which brings us back to the issue of the movie as a commodity, rather than an artistic vision.

I'm not impugning Fincher's intentions; I'm just saying that, as good as his film may be, it's redundant and unnecessary.

Is it entertaining and well-made? Absolutely. For the audience that would never dream of seeing a foreign film, this movie will be the last word in Dragon Tattoo movie-making. And they'll get a quality product.

Working from a script by Steve Zaillian (who made a few different choices than the writers for the Swedish film did in distilling Larsson's sprawling novel), Fincher wastes no time getting into the nuts-and-bolts of the plot. It is initially a parallel set of stories: one involving a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), the other focusing on a punk computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara -- and that character's last name is pronounced suh-LAHN- der).

This review continues on my website..

 
 
 

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