Dear Mr Fincher,
I am writing to express my disappointment at your remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It wasn’t a bad film, don’t get me wrong, but because of your impressive film-making record I was expecting more. A lot more.
When I heard that the film was going to be remade for English-speaking markets I did not have high hopes as the original Swedish film, 2009’s The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo directed by Niels Arden Opley, is a very good film that does not really need to be remade. However, when I heard that you were directing and that Steven Zaillion was writing the screenplay I was greatly encouraged and thought you would be able to enhance the visuals, intensify the story, draw more out of the characters and electrify the dialogue. You did not achieve any of this.
Perhaps I have too high expectations, but then I know you set high expectations for yourself and all those who work with you. The film felt like you were on cruise control, only operating at 70% of your abilities. If the original film didn’t exist we would be saying it is a good film, not amazing, but that it was a fairly decent story but unlikely to be remembered years down the line. However, the original does exist and so we can make a direct comparison.
Alarm bells started to ring the moment the credits sequence began. It seemed so out of balance with the story and I couldn’t help but think it was a bit like a naff James Bond credits sequence. As Daniel Craig is starring this immediately left my mind thinking about this rather than getting involved into the story. The credits sequence was definitely a misjudgement.
It must be so annoying that people make these comparisons with the original, but it is inevitable when doing a remake and am sure you would have been concious of this more than anyone. This is why I was so disappointed. The original film had a much tighter story, for example, Lisbeth is monitoring Mikael’s computer and spots what he is working on and helps him solve the bible reference numbers problem. Whereas in your version, you felt the need for the daughter to come and visit to solve this which made it all a bit more long-winded and didn’t help the story move as quickly or help establish the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael.
Noomi Rapace did such an amazing job playing Lisbeth Salander that it is hard to imagine anyone else playing that role but I thought Rooney Mara did a really excellent job. She still wasn’t quite as rough and gritty as Noomi, but still a great effort that she desrves recognition for. Daniel Craig was okay as Mikael, but I thought Michael Nyqvist was much more believable physically as an ageing investigative journalist.
The difficult role of of rapist Nils Bjurman was played far more sinisterly by Peter Andersson in the original whereas Yorick van Wageningen seemed more simple and a bit of fool. The original made it much clearer the hold he had over Lisbeth and why she went along with it.
The part of the story where Mikael finds the photos of the parade and notices Harriet staring at someone was carried out much better in the original and the photos used were just more convincing and helped tell the story better.
The ending of the film (both the Harriet twist and Lisbeth being in love with Mikael) was also a lot weaker than the original film and I got up feeling dissatisfied. But then maybe I’m not the target audience, the people who wouldn’t want to watch a good film if it had subtitles.
Basically, this is a below par effort from you Mr Fincher and I expect and demand you to do better next time out.
Yours, still a fan,