Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.
Despite my original reservations towards this remake of the original Swedish film, I watched this for the first time in the cinema when it came out, and re-watched it today.
Rooney Mara is a fantastic Lisbeth, perhaps more so than Noomi Rapace as she seemed to have a more pensive, silent air about her that works well with the character. The atmosphere is great; you feel cold just watching it, and its very bleak and tense; as the story should be. The acting and cinematography gel so well together in this adaption that its hard not to be completely absorbed by it. Although slightly odd in nature, the chemistry between Lisbeth and Mikael is very strong, which is an important part of the plot. I found I was completely taken in by the characters and fully believed in them.
Aside from the film itself, the title sequence is perhaps one of the best I’ve ever seen. The music is powerful, and the visuals are strikingly well created and very symbolic. Its unusual for such a lengthy title sequence at the start of a film to completely catch my attention but this one does; its striking and completely absorbing. I found the music and the imagery work so well together to set the scene.
The only slight criticism I would have of the American version of the film is that it doesn’t leave much to the imagination, and seems to embrace the unnecessary. The rape scene, that is a key part of the narrative, is far too explicit for my liking, and much of it was unnecessary; as if the makers thought the audience too naive to work out what was going on. Although you need to fully believe that violent revenge is justifiable (and thus showing, somewhat explicitly, the rape scene is important) I found that much of it wasn’t needed and was ultimately quite vulgar. The same could be said for the scene concerning a dead cat. Mikael opens the door to find the mangled corpse of a cat he had taken in and made his own on his doorstep. The director then seemed to think it necessary to show several different shots of the same mangled cat corpse; which was fairly gruesome and not particularly pleasant for anyone fond of their four legged friends.
Criticism aside, and ignoring the pomposity that often surrounds American remakes of well regarded and received foreign films, this does the original justice. The acting is superb; and is, in my opinion, on par with, if not better than that of the original. The cinematography is beautiful and the music is well thought out; all creating a fantastic atmosphere that is cold, foreboding and bleak. This does the original film justice, and actually almost surpasses it.