Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The book’s still better
By: Don Morton | Feb 10, 2012 | Issue: 933 | No Comments | 2,232 views

Title in Japan: Dragon Tattoo no Onna
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer
Year: 2011
Country: USA, Sweden, UK, Germany
Running Time: 158 min

If you’re one of the maybe four people on the planet who have not yet read the three novels by the late Stieg Larsson, a nutshell: A disgraced investigative journalist (Daniel Craig, displaying Bondian confidence) is hired by a wealthy industrialist (a spot-on Christopher Plummer), to write a family history about his unpleasant clan of odd ducks, smarmy weirdoes and a Nazi or two. But his real task is to find out what happened to the man’s niece, who disappeared 40 years ago at age 16. He takes on an assistant in the form of the emotionally stunted, cyber-brilliant title goth chick (Rooney Mara, nicely combining a feral aesthetic with a heartrending fragility). It’s not better or worse than the 2009 Swedish-language film, but where that was a well made, fairly straightforward adaptation, David Fincher’s (Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network) direction is more assured, and he and screenwriter Steven Zillian have trimmed, added to and extrapolated from the convoluted source material to create a taut and kinetic script that’s cinema-digestible while remaining evocative and compelling. Note: the book’s still better than either, and reading it first may make it easier to keep up.

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