The Movie With The Rape Scene – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

David Fincher is one of my favorite directors. Fight Club might still be my favorite movie and last year’s The Social Network blew me away. With the exception of  2008’s ridiculous The Curious Case of Benjamin Button each of his movies have created a dark world that show the best (and more often) the worst of our society. While Fincher isn’t a writer, his movies create a unique mood and worldview, enough so to say he’s the most original voice in Hollywood. And so I was very disappointed that his latest movie The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was as derivative as derivative can be.

Not only was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo  based on a novel by the same name (which passes the mustard as Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Social Network were also based on books), but it is also essentially an English language remake of a Swedish adaptation of the novel that came out 2 years ago.  I get that there’s a ton of people who never saw the Swedish version of the movie, but there are a ton of people that have and this version doesn’t contribute anything new, leaving me scratching my head why Fincher chose to make it.

The lead actors, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, basically do imitations of their Swedish counterparts. The graphic rape scene is copied frame for frame (And may I take this space to nominate the man at the screening I went to who brought his two five year old girls for father of the year award. Way to make sure your children are forever scared of sex.). The slight differences between the two movies (Daniel Craig has a daughter he didn’t have in the original movie and Rooney Mara has more of a crush on Craig than she did in Sweden), only serve to make you wonder why those changes were made. There’s nothing in this rendition which would make me recommend spending two and a half hours watching this movie if you’ve seen the original, much less the year Fincher spent remaking this movie when he could have put his talents toward something else. 

I fear that Fincher might be entering the Tim Burton zone. Like Fincher, Burton was once Hollywood’s most creative visionary directing gothic slapstick like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Beatlejuice until he succumbed to hackdom by just remaking children movies. I’m hoping Fincher’s next movie isn’t a remake of Deliverance.

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6 responses to “The Movie With The Rape Scene – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

  1. Myra Arellano says :

    Fincher’s movie adaptation of THE BOOK is not a remake, It is a new take in the ORIGINAL story that appears in THE BOOK. not the swedish movie. I understand that the fans of the swedish version are not happy with the idea of a better director giving his own treatment to the story but at the same time it puzzles me a little. Isn’t your beloved Swedish film up for a little bit of healthy competition?

    I hate to see my favorite books turn into movies. When I saw the trailer of the Swedish film I thought “what? that very fierce, sexy mature looking woman can’t be Lisbeth? and I’ve been avoiding seeing the Swedish version of the book for a while. However when I saw the first trailers of Fincher’s film I got immediately interested. The new film seems to be truer to the source than its Swedish counterpart and Rooney Mara looks so close to Lisbeth descriptions (even her voice is what I had imagined) that I can’t help but feeling that I must see this version. That also means that once I see the movie I’ll try to see the Swedish films. For me the more Millenium the better. Lisbeth is such a good character that deserves to have more than one good actress playing her. Haven’t iconic female characters like Jane Eyre, juliet, Elizabeth Bennet and Catherine Earnshaw and Jo March had more than a good actress representing them in TV, Movies and on stage? Lisbeth deserves no less. i’m happy that the two actresses that so far have played Lisbeth have received good reviews.

    Thanks to Hollywood now people have options. You can stick with the swedish films or you can see only the american version or you can see both to compare.

    And even so neither the Hollywood version nor the Swedish film will ever be as good as Larsson’s original piece of work.

  2. Myra Arellano says :

    and a question. Have you read the books? because if the swedish films cut important characters like Blomksvit’s daughter and I heard that they had very few on Wennestrom too, then I’m happy that Fincher’s version will be more appealing to us, the book fans, the ones with a very literary mind who can’t stand when movie adaptions take too many liberties with the ORIGINAL material. Any fan of the swedish films who hasn’t read the books should give them a try.

    • Pablo Chiste says :

      Thank you for reading. No, I haven’t read the books. My point in my review wasn’t that the American version is necessarily better than the Swedish version (although I found in the American version the music video intro and the fact that all the actors were speaking English but with a Swedish accent to be jarring). My problem was that the director David Fincher, a talented man, made a replica of a movie that already existed. If it was a radical reinterpretation of the book that would be one thing. But he seemed to direct the actors to model their performances on the Swedish actors’ performances.
      I assume they offered him a ton of money to direct this movie and I’m sure if they paid me to plagiarize someone else’s work with no legal consequences I’d accept the paycheck too. But I’ve come to expect more from David Fincher and this time received a lot less.

      • Myra Arellano says :

        I don’t think Fincher cared that much about the swedish version, Why would he want to base his work in a tv series turned into movie when he had a marvelous script from Steve zillian? When directors are filming the same book and with the same settings (winter sweden) of course there are going to be similarities, You have to keep in mind that he is not remaking a movie with an original plot in which case your review would be spot on. He is having a different take on a book. The book is the only original and I hope every country in the world decide to make their own version.

  3. Buddy Maisch says :

    The novel is really rich in detail and quick paced — And incredibly moving in depicting the struggles faced by its female protagonist. This novel somehow brings off having two really well drawn protagonists, one male, one female that one can empathize with. I did not want the story to end. A middle aged journalist, and a troubled but incredibly talented young woman who works as a PI intersect to solve a labyrinthine plot. Lisbet’s story would have made an incredible novel on its own. She has Aspergers and is trapped in an awful school /social system with no advocates and non-existent mental health services. It is really dark in its themes somewhat like the Kite Runner. I cannot wait to read the sequels.

    All in all, its one of the best mystery /thrillers I’ve read from the last decade. In fact comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, the characters are not simplistic one dimensional cut outs at all. The rich characterizations and explorations of dark behaviour remind me of Elizabeth George. This is a superb novel and impossible to put down.

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