Having never seen the Swedish adaptations, nor read the novels, I admittedly had nothing to compare this American version to.
Several things struck me though, regardless:
1. The “cinema of cruelty” Fincher seems to be engaging in. It’s not meant in a negative way, but Fincher is insistent on forcing us to view the attacks on Lisbeth with such a dispassionate eye, it’s unbearable in its bluntness.
2. The science of the procedural: The process of investigation, which Fincher has building toward since “Zodiac” fulfills itself with a vengeance—-precisely because there is a definitive ending to what lies in Martin’s immaculate basement; there is no such closure in “Zodiac”. It’s as though the obsessive drive of someone like Dave Toschi leads us straight into the black heart of what we never wanted to know. Indeed, the film seems to be asking which is worse: always knowing, or never knowing?
3. Reznor and Ross’ example of "pure scoring. That’s no slight to their achievements in “The Social Network”, but rather a testament to how far they’ve come in such a short time. And I’m speaking as someone who has played their prior score ad infinitum; it works just as well independently of the film—-it’s a great album in its own right. The score for “Dragon Tattoo” is, at least to me, a “truer” score, precisely because it really only achieves full impact once you’ve seen the film.
4. And this is meant only SLIGHTLY facetiously, but was anyone else in the audience a little taken aback by how physically attracted they were to Rooney Mara? (Or am I the only one? [Cue the awkward sounds of crickets…])
Hollywood is now re making Scandinavian films Wow.
It certainly wasn’t a remake in the classic sense, but much more a re-imagining of the novels. Having seen both versions and read the novels, i can definitely say that Fincher’s adaptation was much more faithful to the novel, and wasn’t trying to be the previous movie, but an English language translation of the novel from written word to film.
Also, i preferred this version to the Swedish, personally.
I’ve only seen the Swedish version which I thought was pretty decent.
I’m still not sure whether I’m going to see Fincher’s. I have yet to have my concerns addressed the film will be 1) Pulpy and CSI-ish, and 2) Focused on the sensational torture elements.
Maybe I’ll wait for Netflix, just so when I watch it, I’m in a position to hit the abort button without being a captive audience for two and a half hours.
The ads, at the very least, make the performances and dialog come off as very pulpy. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Fincher film with natural sounding dialog).
Yes, my only real criticism is that some of the lines seemed a bit, as you said, “pulpy,” forced, and contrived.
and Fincher’s trademark green-tint to the entire film was far less noticeable in Dragon Tattoo than any of his others, which was a breath of fresh air.
its fun and worth a viewing if you’re a fan of the Swedish films and the novels, but definitely not the best film i’ve ever seen—by a long shot.
Ok, I’ll see it, I’ll just wait till I can Netflix it so I can watch it in chunks instead of all at once.
that’s a good idea. my friend works at an Alamo Drafthouse so i got to see it for free, but if i hadn’t, i’d probably wait for a home viewing as well.
This sure is a fine film , very nice craftsmanship and all (as with Zodiac). The novel though is shit and the adoption from Arden Oplev is mediocre at best.
Just saw this film today, and I was very impressed. I was expecting it to be slightly rushed, forced at times and a little dull. I’ve seen the Swedish version and was not totally impressed. This however, is one of the best films this year.
Focusing on Fincher himself, there seems to be an obvious interest in the investigation of serial murders (this, ‘Zodiac’ and ‘Se7en’).I suppose it could be considered a loose trilogy of films, all looking at similar aspects and themes, however still being unique and able to stand-alone. This interest seems to follow through with how his films look and feel. There is a clear control over every image, every camera movement, every choice. Although it looses some potential for spontaneity, the subject matter matches up the control, and need to delve into every single detail. Whereas Fincher wants to show us everything in a certain way, his characters want to investigate everything. This control makes (at least for me) a film that could have been a 150 minute slog, into something far more enjoyable, involving and affecting.
Fincher seems to me to be perhaps the best example of a modern ‘classical’ Hollywood film maker, however one that deals with subject matters such as murder, sex, incest, greed…etc. Agree, disagree?
Also, a question to anyone who may have recently watched ‘Zodiac’ and ‘Se7en’, there was a shot that was often used in this film, and that was a character staring into/through the camera, face-on, with their head filling the frame. I just wondered if this image appeared as often in those films that were similar. Also, why do people feel this shot is used?
“Fincher seems to me to be perhaps the best example of a modern ‘classical’ Hollywood film maker, however one that deals with subject matters such as murder, sex, incest, greed…etc. Agree, disagree?”
Okay, so I just saw this film and thought it was ‘good’ but not ‘great’. It was well made, the performances and cinematography were awesome but it just didn’t seem to have that fire, that tension, suspense, magic variable x, whatever you wish to call it. I personally think Zodiac is a modern classic and is 5 x’s better than Dragon Tattoo but I don’t mean to say it was a bad film by any means. Part of it may be that I’m a huge David Fincher fan and I’ve loved pretty much every movie of his that I’ve seen so far (although I haven’t seen Alien 3 and have been meaning to stay away from it).
It reminded me a lot of the Red Riding trilogy, especially the first film in the series (Red Riding 1974) but I really seemed to have like all 3 of those films better than Dragon Tattoo. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest you check them out if any of you dug Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo (all 3 films are on Netflix, at least in USA)
One question though: I noticed the film had a $90 million production budget. Where did all of that money go to? There were only a couple of main locations used for the majority of the film and the other locations were only shown for a minute or so. There wasn’t a whole lot of action and they really had only one major explosion. And I’m not asking you guys directly (unless you actually worked on the film) but it was just something I was wondering about because it seemed like a film that could have been made for $20 million or less. Keep in mind, I’m a filmmaker myself so these types of questions always interest me.
David Fincher is an obsessive perfectionist. That’s why Dragon Tattoo cost $90 million. Look at all of his movies – they all cost a substantial sum. In the case of Dragon Tattoo, he shot a lot in Sweden and spent a lot on post (he has his own peeps that he uses).
Dragon Tattoo most definitely could have been made for less than $20 million. Just look at the Swedish version. lol.
I thought this movie was essentially a huge waste of time, energy, talent, etc. Enjoyable, but a lesser work from Fincher and honestly the source material (I haven’t read the novels) just doesn’t seem all that compelling. So far this continues the trend of me loving every even-numbered Fincher film and feeling lukewarm toward every odd-numbered film he’s made (Dragon Tattoo being his ninth film).
Thankfully this film didn’t make as much money as MGM would’ve liked so Fincher may balk at a tighter budget and ditch the sequels. Which means he can get started on that 20,000 Leagues film for Disney asap! haha
Yeah…. I’m glad Fincher will likely be moving on, but I can’t say I’m excited for his version (or any version) of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, ugh. Maybe he’s going to break his even-numbered streak with me after all these years.
lol – yeah, no matter how you slice it, Fincher’s got nothing exciting on the immediate horizon.
@Nick Yep, I found Rooney Mara really attractive here. She was cute in a puppy-dog sort of way. Not sure if that makes any sense at all, but yep.
The plot is pretty much a disaster in Dragon Tattoo (although that’s more the author’s fault), which really makes me question why the film has to be 150 minutes long. And at times, I felt that MacBooks did more mystery-solving than their owners! But you’ve gotta love Reznor & Ross on the score once again. Every now and then there’s a de-tuned piano that creeps into a song and it’s pretty chilling. Let’s hope they have a long and fruitful film career ahead of them!
“Thankfully this film didn’t make as much money as MGM would’ve liked so Fincher may balk at a tighter budget and ditch the sequels.”
$90 million is hardly an exorbitantly high budget for this kind of film though. Fincher is predictable—you’re basically going to gross your production budget domestically and then hopefully you pull at least that much internationally. Not many R-rated, 2 hour and 40 minute films are going to be blockbusters.
Yes, relatively speaking, the film did remarkably well. I think their expectations might’ve been a bit high and the production budget should definitely have been lower, especially given the marketing push.
Yeah, worldwide total $232. That should greenlight another if Fincher wants. As a Fincherite, Matt, what did you make of the film?
I wouldn’t cross the road to see Fincher’s Tattoo – it is a tawdry tale designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator as a bums on seats drawcard I hated the first one and wouldn’t cross the road to see…oh I said that already
Well, it’s not his best film, but he was pretty clear from the time that he signed on that the intention was to make a “franchise for adults”, and I think it’s that (the first installment of that, anyhow). And there’s enough of Fincher’s directorial personality that one could do a Hitchcock-Hawksian auteurist reading of it if one were so inclined. Just in terms of craftsmanship, it’s miles better than Oplev’s.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Is a Loss for MGM
“were hoping we’d do 10% more than we did.”
Aren’t we all.
I know Fincher said if he did the other two he’d prefer to shoot them at the same time. And the other two should be cheaper given the material (especially the third one, which largely takes place in a courtroom, right?). So I imagine if shooting them back to back saves them money and Fincher is a bit more agreeable on budget cuts, this might happen. The problem in the past is that Sony gives him carte blanche and it doesn’t sound like that’s going to be the case should they proceed with the other films. And I could totally see Fincher just saying "fuck it’ and move on to other projects, in which case Sony could easily find a cheaper filmmaker.
“Just in terms of craftsmanship, it’s miles better than Oplev’s.”
Yeah, of this there is no doubt. I can’t understand people who prefer the first version. I had a discussion recently with someone complaining about the “hollywoodization” of the film. When I wondered how, she said the film “sexualized” Salander’s character and presented her as helpless victim. When I asked for actual examples from this, she finally cited publicity shots that Rooney did in Vanity Fair (as if Fincher was responsible for them):
Finally, when I was persisting in my questions, I discovered she hadn’t even seen the film but just read about that criticism from a feminist blog… great.
I think Oplev’s version was pretty good, an entertaining little thriller that slipped from my memory almost immediately after it was over. I remember thinking that Fincher’s version would be a lot more polished and a lot more explicit — a bigger budget and bigger dildos.
And, apart from some fine performances from Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara etc, that’s about what I got. Fincher never elevated the story into anything of more than passing interest — he couldn’t transcend the limitations of the novel, which begins promisingly but finally devolves into a pretty rote serial killer thriller. A couple of memorable moments, to be fair, but I doubt I’ll ever need to sit through this again, and I can’t imagine bothering with the sequels.
Yeah . . . have you read about the fight over budget for the Netflix thing he’s executive producing?
Matt, is that the new version of HOUSE OF CARDS to star the unspeakable Kevin Spacey?