Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Nyqvist’

When I compiled a list of my top ten vampire movies in 2009 the 2008 Swedish movie Let The Right One In came second behind Near Dark (1987). Shortly after this the movie was remade in America as Let Me In (2010). The remake was well directed by Matt Reeves who had previously impressed with Cloverfield (2008). The acting was great particularly from Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Moretz. Greig Fraser’s photography is stunning and the New Mexico locations are surprisingly good. Despite all this I didn’t actually enjoy the movie coming so close after the original Swedish film it all fell a little flat, it certainly offered nothing new but also inexplicably felt to be lacking something; in short what was the point? This was my greatest fear for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, coming just two years after the Swedish version (actually called Män som hatar kvinnor that translates to Men who hate women. Like the book it is based on it was renamed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the English speaking market) how relevant would it be?

The first thing to say now that I have seen both versions (and having previously read the book) is that the David Fincher version is an adaptation of the book and not a remake of the original film. The reason they are so similar is that they are both relatively faithful to the book. Normally this would be a good thing, but to be relevant so soon after the first adaptation I can’t help thinking it needs to separate itself from the original in the way Let Me In failed to do. The interesting thing is that they have both watered-down the politics that are personal to the author and cement the story as a Swedish one. This is one of the changes that makes the Swedish setting less important and would have made transposing the story to the UK or the USA possible. As well as a more original film it could have had a very timely subtext about the financial crisis. A few changes would have been needed but it is an adaptation of a book into a different medium and changes will always be made.

Taken on their own merits, both films are very good. They both fall down in a few places, sometimes the same places possibly showing limitations of the source novel. The key to how you will feel about the films rests in the portrayals of Salander and Blomkvist and therefore is likely to decide if you like the films and which you prefer. After seeing the original film I felt it was perfectly cast: Michael Nyqvist plays as Blomkvist as an everyman hero. Lisbeth Salander, is a harder part to fill but Noomi Rapace was a revelation. The perfect portrayal (despite being a little too old and too tall for the part) rightly launched her onto the international stage. In the new version Daniel Craig is pretty good fit as Blomkvist un-toning his James Bond physique. Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander is more likely to divide opinion; as I see it, from an acting point of view she isn’t as good as Rapace, however conversely her performance is better. She plays Lisbeth as both more vulnerable and more dangerous, this is both more interesting and closer to the character in the book.

So where do we find relevance in this remake, at what point does it become a credible film in its own right and stop being a pointless imitation for people who can’t be bothered to read subtitles? I have a theory on this. As mentioned at the top I do believe it is an adaptation of the book and not a remake of the first film, but this isn’t enough. The greatest failing of the original Swedish version was not in the film itself but its two sequels: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (Luftslottet som sprängdes). Both far weaker films mainly because they fail to move away from their TV origins. And that is where David Fincher and his cast can find relevance and a reason for the existence of a $100million that differs little from the original (other than to make money for its studio), they have the opportunity to put what went wrong first time around and give us parts two and three of the Millennium trilogy that live up to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Read Full Post »