I was of two minds going into this one. I’m a big fan of Fincher’s work. Even when he’s off his game (Zodiac) he’s still pretty good. And when he’s great (Fight Club, The Game), he’s awesome. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of the Millenium novels. Dragon Tattoo was okay, and after seeing Played with Fire in its Swedish incarnation, I had no interest in reading more. These are oddly constructed stories that rely way too much on memorable imagery rather than believable (or even interesting) plots.
For me, Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo hews a little too close to the original, as if the novel is some sort of sacred screed. I do think setting it in Sweden is fun, because it’s so different. But why does everyone have a Swedish lilt except Daniel Craig? Why does it take an hour for the two main characters (Craig’s investigative journalist, and Rooney Mara as a punk hacker) to meet? Why is the music so weird? Why is a 23-year-old a ward of the state? Why is this film so fricking long?
I’m ragging on the movie not because it’s not good cinema. It is. The cinematography is gorgeous, the various sequences of torture are extremely chilling, and the performances are good. But by the time we’ve dealt with the serial killing bad guy, spending twenty minutes to tie up extremely uninteresting loose ends from the first act seems a little pointless. The film needs a trim.
I suspect fans of the book will probably love this thing no end. I think it’s okay, but also easily Fincher’s least impressive film.