Star rating – 8/10
I’m not usually a big fan of Hollywood makeovers of perfectly good foreign language original films, but as it’s the season of goodwill to all film directors, and as I needed a break from festive chocolates and tinsel, I decided to give this a chance. It is a remake of the original Swedish film, which was itself an adaptation of the best selling crime novel that is the world wide publishing phenomenon by Stieg Larsson.
I was loathe to accept Daniel Craig as political journalist Mikael Blomkvist, and especially sceptical about anyone but the excellent Noomi Rapace playing Lisbeth Salander, the IT genius with extreme anti social tendencies. But I have to admit that both Craig, and Rooney Mara are exceptionally good in their roles, and do bring another dimension to the action rather than merely a pale imitation of what has gone before. And it has to be said that her blond eyebrows with jet black hair are a seriously menacing look.
Of course this version will have had a significantly bigger budget than its Swedish predecessor, but it is also slick in other ways, with David Fincher adding a deft touch of sleekness that was arguably missing from the original. The cold harsh Swedish setting is atmospheric, with the wealthy family Blomkvist is investigating nicely fitting the crazy Nazi stereotype that has been painted of them.
If you are familiar with the story, as I am, then the plot is no surprise, but is expertly handled – violent and repugnant in all the right places, laced with the odd tender moment. The tension is built nicely to the climax, even if perhaps the film is a little overlong. So don’t expect to read this too often – but this is one Hollywood remake that is most definitely recommended.