The Curious Case of David Fincher

 

Boxing Day saw the release of probably the most unlikely Festive film ever, a decision that can only really be put down to the studio’s insistence that it be lined up ahead of the awards season. It’s unlikely to score big (although I suspect that I can predict where nominations will follow), but it does mark another point in the career of former rabble-rouser David Fincher.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (henceforth abbreviated to TGWTDT for brevity) is a fine film, although certainly not the traditional Festive fodder – a fact that may have accounted for the relatively sparse audience when I went to see it (not on Boxing Day I may add). It solves some of the issues that the original version of the film had – primarily involving the ending – and steers closer to the book in terms of the characterisation. Fincher also manages to appropriate a more European approach to filming, with longer takes and a willingness to go at a more glacial pace. It’s a far cry from his earlier, more frantic films and shows how he’s continuing to develop as a director (which I’m beginning to think will be broken down into pre and post Zodiac at this stage). It’s less showy than “The Social Network”, and certainly better than “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, which whilst good felt as if it was aiming for awards rather than to be entertaining (a subsequent viewing has softened this view slightly, but I still think it’s his weakest film).

The cast are uniformly excellent – indeed this may be one of the best casts of last year with some people popping up just for five minutes who you’d normally expect in far larger roles. Daniel Craig indicates that there may be a possibility of life after Bond for him, with the sort of understated performance that we usually don’t expect (although he retains the sort of “carved of granite” exterior that we now expect). Rooney Mara is nothing short of excellent and technically the film is superb (special mention must be made for the opening credits, which presumably the makers of the next Bond have seen and promptly started bricking themselves over).

In terms of award recognition, in all honesty it’s unlikely to trouble most boards, not because it isn’t any good (it’s well worth watching) but because it strays too far from the norm to be comfortable for most voting panels. It’s easy to see Rooney Mara picking up nominations for her performance (another aspect that I enjoyed more than the original) which changes throughout the film in a fashion that seems more organic (and certainly she feels more vulnerable on the occasions when it’s merited), and Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross will certainly pick up plenty for their score, but elsewhere it’s unlikely to see anything outside of the technical categories.

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