When I heard David Fincher was going to be making an American version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, I didn't know what to think.  Here is a well respected and critically acclaimed director known for a wide range of work, and he is looking to return to the doom and gloom of his directorial heyday.  Fair enough.  The novels certainly fit into his element, which has always lain somewhere between grunge and gloss.  But why a remake/reimagining/whatever you want to call it?  I'm still not 100% sure as to why this is happening exactly, other than the assumed (and sadly verifiable) "fact" that American audiences will not watch a movie with subtitles.

In any case, it's here, and it's time to come to terms with it.  Before I go on, please watch the trailer before I go on and on and on about it:

The most striking thing, right off the bat, is the use of Led Zepplin's "Immigrant Song", performed by Trent Reznor and Karen O, and the fact that the trailer is cut to the beat in short, quick cuts.  The heavy industrial beat hammer the images into our eyes, conducive as it is to pairings with chilly shots of wintry Sweden, and the visual refrain of a POV shot driving toward the massive Vanger estate.  The music also serves to introduce the hard-edged character Lisbeth Salander, who as imagined by David Fincher and star Rooney Mara is a force to be reckoned with, and who appears to have lost all veneer of assumed retardation that Noomi Rapace locked into the character in Niels Arden Oplev's original film, and which helped to cement her star power and successfully conveyed some very powerful private information that Lisbeth hides from those whom she does not trust, namely that she's very capable of handling herself.

That aside, it looks to be that Fincher has returned to the source material very capably, and is certainly more intent on invoking the novel's original Swedish title, Men Who Hate Women.  The novel itself is a nasty little thing that seems to have a distinctly cynical and cold-hearted worldview, no matter the "happy ending" that sees Lisbeth and Mikael Blomquist (who is really the main character) succeed in exposing corruption, perversion and misogyny.

One only need look at the poster for the film to see that the focus on the darker and more hard-hitting elements here is definitely going to be key to winning legions of fans over to the idea of a remake, and so far, for me, it's working.  (Look up the racier and totally NSFW international poster for the film as more evidence of how hard Sony is going to marketing this movie properly for once.)  As much a fan I am of Oplev's film, the second and third meander a bit and lose steam toward the end, losing focus on the passionate hatred that Larsson had for the corrupt structures humans use to prop up evil and make it acceptable on some level.

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