When I first read the novel by Stieg Larsson, I didn't know exactly what to expect. To say that the novel is surprising is an understatement. It's quite thrilling, and despite the horrible things on print, you can't pry it away from your eyes. It was weaved very well, without loopholes, managing to keep the readers at bay. It wasn't hard to imagine films coming out from the books. It was written in a way that it can be adapted, and to watch the adaptation will certainly be entertaining. Well…I've strayed away from the adaptations, primarily because the book was so great, and there were scenes that were so graphic in the novel that I didn't want to see a reenactment of it. Basically it's time to man up and see the film.
Mikael Blomkvist is a known journalist, whose name has been ruined when he lost his case - he had accused a powerful man of stealing government money. At the depth of his ruin, he gets hired by a Henri Vanger, who gives him a mystery to solve. He thinks that someone murdered his favorite niece, Harriet, and he's paying Blomkvist to solve the mystery, even going so far to provide him information that might take his opponent down. His investigation eventually led him to the doorstep of Lisbeth Salander, a very thorough investigator who had a rough past of her own.
When it came to the film adaptation, I think Fincher got it right. The tone and the atmosphere of the film was dark, and it looked very slick - it had a clean look to it. The script didn't venture very far from the book, but it didn't take out the momentous events that were also present in the novel (hence my initial hesitance to see it). The music worked well with the film, although there were some off moments. I think the film could have gone darker, but maybe it might just be too much. I liked the film, but I think I preferred the novel a bit more.
Rooney Mara gave an excellent performance. I've seen two movies where she's previously credited, but this is really where she got her big break. Her performance as Salander was full-on, not skimping out on anything that makes Salander an edgy character. Mara was known for taking the method acting route by actually piercing her body parts - something that was always talked about during the promotion of the film. I did imagine her character to be older, in terms of thought and experience. Her accent could use a bit of work, as her voice changes at some scenes. I've only seen Daniel Craig in the Bond films (and most recently, in The Golden Compass, although he barely makes an appearance there) and he's always been so well put and strong in his films, that it's quite different to watch him here. His rendition of Blomvisk was vulnerable, yet he always had that thirst for knowledge.
The duo was supported by a stellar cast, though we don't see much of them. Not that their characters weren't important, but there wasn't much interaction with them as with the duo. The horrifying scenes I was talking about earlier? It did live up to its horror, though I was waiting for Salander to finally take her revenge. Yorick van Wageningen who played Nils Bjurman was very much of a creep.
Final Word: A great book-to-film adaptation. I wonder how the sequel's going. There doesn't seem to be much news about it.
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer
Director: David Fincher