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.