“I want you to help me catch a killer of women.”
It’s the start of the Benjamin Button-style Fincher-Fest, movie lovers! And what better way to kick it off than to take a look at David Fincher’s current film, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, based on Stieg Larsson’s first book in his internationally best-selling “Millenium” trilogy. It’s already racking up end-of-the-year accolades and incredible buzz about Rooney Mara’s knock-your-socks-off performance of Lisbeth Salander (all well-earned), even though some contingents of fans of the original Swedish films (great films in their own right that only came out last year) question why Hollywood felt it so necessary to adapt the books again so quickly after the others were made. The Swedish films certainly put Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist — who play Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, respectively — on the map in international casting circles (Rapace has since appeared in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and just wrapped in Ridley Scott’sPrometheus while Nyqvist appeared in John Singleton’s Abduction earlier this year and currently can be seen in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.) In this episode, we talk about the various iterations of this first of Larsson’s stories — did the Americans need to make their own version, what works in each version and what doesn’t, what did Fincher and his team bring to the table, etc. We work to put in context what the Swedish film is to Swedish audiences by comparing similar statistics with American films. We discuss the performances — Rooney Mara’s brilliant work as well as the amazing Daniel Craig who we both feel isn’t just playing James Bond in Sweden. We discuss the change in the end of the story and how we feel about it as well as all of the sequences that come after the climax. We chat about the team behind this — Steven Zaillian who is having a great year with this and Moneyball, Jeff Cronenweth, Ren Klyce, Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross — and that’s just some of the crew! Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard, Julian Sands and the always amazing Christopher Plummer all give brilliant performances.
One actor we don’t mention in this episode but who is worth mentioning here is Yorick van Wageningen, the poor actor stuck with playing the brutal role of Nils Bjurman. He was so traumatized after filming his pivotal rape scene with Mara that he locked himself in his hotel room for a day and cried. Obviously his choice to take the role, but it’s always good to be reminded that an actor is not the character they portray. So if you haven’t had a chance to read the book or watch either film version, go do so before listening in because we have some spoilers, then tune in and join us as we take on this fascinating murder mystery with one of film’s most intriguing characters in years.