False Trail (Jägarna 2): a seasoned detective is asked to return to his hometown to solve a brutal murder. This is as (stereo)typically Scandinavian as anything that’s been released in recent years: it’s grim, the colour pallet is bleak, and the majority of the runtime is bubbling broodiness. There’s a couple of heavyweight actors (Lassgard and Stormare, who is appearing in everything I watch just now) in the leading roles, which gives the story some more levity. The plot is fascinating to watch, as it slowly unwraps for most of the entire duration, heading towards a dramatic finale. I was surprised to learn that this was a sequel, as it works on its own, but would have contextualised a couple of flashbacks. Solidly Scandinavian police procedural.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: essentially an English language, scene for scene, character for character and detail for detail re-make of the Swedish original film adaptation. The over-stylised James Bond-esque opening credits paired with NIN industrial techno Led Zep remix are fantastic, and promise something fresh/new; unfortunately the rest of the film fails to deliver as it copies almost everything from the original. Most annoyingly, it’s still set in Sweden and full of Europeans talking in ‘svee-deesh’ – it’s like watching a professional dubbing of the original. Character-wise, Daniel Craig is good, but Nyqvist has the edge as the flawed idealist journalist; Rooney Mara is very watchable as Lisbeth Salander, but it feels like a good imitation of Rapace’s portrayal. In all honesty, both pairs of boots were almost impossible to fill. The rest of the cast deliver, but again, have very little room to put any new stamp on the characters. As a stand-alone film, it is good (although it would have been hard to mess up sticking to the original). All is not lost though, as the 2nd/3rd Swedish films weren’t perfect, and have far more room for improvement. As someone who saw and loved the original, this lacks any of the impact that the modern twist on the classic murder mystery had – this just feels redundant and unimaginative. Expected a something better from a director of David Fincher‘s calibre.
Review of the original