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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.

Score: 7/10

Review of the original

Far from a comprehensive list of last year, below are the Films I watched that are worth another mention.


The Best
:

Inception – Original, smart Sci-Fi Blockbuster… bliss.
Jackass 3D – The most I’ve ever laughed and gagged in the cinema
The Good, The Bad, The Weird – Fantastic modern western fun
MicMacs – Brilliant French vision
MacGruber – Slated by critics but was so, so funny
Toy Story 3 – Perfect ending to the best trilogy in cinema
Up In The Air – Clooney and Farmiga in a modern romance
Dragon Tattoo – Stunning whodunnit from Sweden
The Killer Inside Me – Shockingly realistic portrait of a serial killer
Spartacus (TV) – Fighting, sex and swearing; great trash telly
Luther (TV) – Brilliant UK detective show, a la HBO

Stinkers:

We are what we are – a boring horror film about cannibals!
Somewhere – utterly ridiculous non-film
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – But I almost did…
Warrior’s Way – Ninjas & Cowboys done so wrongly
Hornet’s Nest – Not a terrible film, but nothing on the first
Skyline – Derivative alien bore
Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus – so bad it’s bad!

Best of the rest:

Conversations with Other women – Split screen for the duration, and works well.
Hot Rod – Spot on comedy timing
Inglourious – Tarantino’s most mature work
Survive Style 5+ – Eye candy from Japan.
Drag Me To Hell – Throwback horror

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: (Blu Ray) Film adaptation of the eponymous novel – follows an investigative journalist and a computer hacker as they investigate a 40 year old disappearance, which in turn unearths much bigger crimes. The one thing that grabs you for the duration is the performances offered up by the cast, particularly the two mains: Rapace is great at portraying an enigmatic character, who is strong and smart, yet damaged and vulnerable; Nyqvist on the other hand effortlessly portrays a determined journalist and dedicated researcher with incorruptible morals. Mains aside, nobody else really drops the ball either and the strong cast definitely make the film more believable, engaging and gripping. As for the story, you’ve seen it a thousand times before, but never done like this: it’s essentially a Miss Marple ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery served up with a huge wedge of modernity – metro setting, bit of snuff, bit of action, bit of romance, and lots of graphic scenes & descriptions of terrible crimes – add to this a bunch of critiques (violence against women, corrupt big business, modern Sweden…) and you have a very busy film. My favourite aspect of Dragon Tattoo is how the story’s told – it obviously helps to have great source material – but the direction is outstanding, and no matter how hard it gets to watch, or how long it goes on for, you simply can’t stop watching.  My only major nitpick was the constant flashbacks as everything else about the film batted a lot higher. The BD picture is decent enough but typical Scandinavian washed out bleak pallet means that nothing really jumps out – sound again is alright, but nothing special. The final product is a modern facelift of the classic murder mystery that continually makes you wince, yet keeps you hooked through to the very last scene

Score: 8/10