Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Winter Preview UPDATE The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
David Fincher has had a great career arc thus far. I love seeing him grow from Se7en into the director he is today, ad while Se7en(along with Zodiac) remains my favorite film from the man it's undeniable that he continues to fine tune his craft and develop a wholly unique American style that has developed far beyond the gritty and roughness of his first films into a sleek and overwhelming amount of control ever present as he tells complicated stories. He also enjoys taking time off to deal with what some would call lighter fare. The Game( which still loses me in the end) and Panic Room(which overall never clicked with me completely) were two such diversions and they represent different moments in his career and how he applies it to less thought provoking material. For instance Panic Room made great use of his "Fincher Cam" which he used to such acclaim in Fight Club. While these films are fun and enjoyable in their own right they lack the personality, and emotional connection that you feel from his other work. Each of his films are incredibly passionate pieces of art, and you can feel his connection to the material in every film.
So where does that leave us now? Well after the amazing trifecta of Zodiac, Benjamin Button, and The Social Network, he has taken on another popcorn flick in the extremely popular The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Already made in Sweden to some decent acclaim, Fincher brings his own style to the film and creates an incredibly compelling and entertaining thriller with some slick direction and great acting from the main cast Fincher really shows that he is a master of the craft. My only problem is, it doesn't go beyond that. This is pop literature made into pop film, good pop film but ultimately a bit hollow. That's ok, the movie doesn't need to reach the emotional complexity of Se7en or Zodiac but coming from the same director it all feels like he's been here before and achieved brilliance, while here he's just having fun.
Rooney Mara owns the role, and as good as Noomi Rapace was on her portrayal, Mara disappears completely into the role. Every gesture, every glance is filled with her inner turmoil and when her relationship begins with Craig, she lets the slightest amount of human emotion seep through. It is a great performance and she deserves all the accolades she's been getting. Craig fits perfectly on the role of hot shot reporter who has been disgraced. It's not that much of stretch to think Craig could play a super intelligent man who has a slightly off moral compass when it comes to the ladies. The two of them together work perfectly an I'd love to see them finish out the trilogy together as they really do make an entertaining onscreen relationship.
I'm not going to get into plot because chances are you know it already, and of not then good or you, you can be one of the few people going into this with previous experience with the work. I mentioned that it feels like Fincher has treaded these waters before, and he has. Fincher has made two definitive serial killer/ detective procedurals before. Both Se7en and Zodiac are brilliant entries into the genre and both of them break new ground and push the envelope when it comes to these stories. I'm not sure what I expected him to do with such a popular piece of pop lit, but I was hoping he would elevate it slightly passed the existing story wrapped in a pretty little package.
This is not a bad film by any means, but it definitely isn't trying push boundaries and be excitingly fresh. Before you say that this is an adaptation and that he was bound by story, The Social Network was an adaptation and a much better film. I enjoyed this a lot, and like said I'd love to see Craig and Mara return to the roles, and even Fincher back as director. He really does make the whole thing look amazingly beautifully and very slick, and is a great showcase for his abilities as a director. First though I need him to get back to cementing himself in as one of the great modern American directors. I said last year that I love The Social Network, but that I don't think Fincher has made his masterpiece yet. I stand by that, and hope he proves me right one of these days.
One last thought - always reliable.