Trailer Tuesday: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

For anyone who couldn't handle the thought of watching a movie adaptation of Stieg Larsson's international bestseller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in a its original language (Swedish), well, you'll shortly be able to experience an English language film version.

Releasing on 21 December in the United States - and in much of the rest of the world by mid January 2012 - is this American take on the socially conscious crime novel. Directed by David Fincher, the man responsible for dark, critically acclaimed movies such as Se7en, Fight Club and The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo stars Daniel Craig as disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is hired by frail industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to solve the decades-old mystery surrounding the disappearance of his niece. Helping Blomkvist contend with the other members of the highly secretive Vanger family is Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a reclusive goth hacker with big secrets - and some even bigger problems - of her own.

The big question hanging over The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2011 is how it will fare in comparisons to its massively successful Swedish counterpart? Hell, the 2009 movie was one of my favourite releases of last year (read my review here). How will the new Girl with the Dragon Tattoo differentiate itself, especially since both it and the Swedish film have been shot on location in Sweden, and as a result look strikingly similar?

Well, judging by the trailer above, the major difference will be the American film's energy - which comes through strongly in the trailer's frenetic editing, and through the use of an aggressive cover of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song by Trent Reznor and Karen O. There's no denying that, by contrast, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's overseas counterpart adopted a VERY leisurely approach to pacing and plot revelation.

The second obvious difference between the American and Swedish movie is "edginess." So far, all US marketing material (like the bare tits teaser poster above) has shrieked "Look how hardcore we are!" Right now, MGM and Sony Columbia are risking overkill, and making the film seem like it's trying too hard to be graphic, shocking and R-rated. And really, it's unnecessary to play all The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's trump cards upfront. It's unnecessary given the naturally black heart of the source material, and its uncomfortably sordid exploration of such issues as misogyny, incest and serial killing.

This concern aside, I do love the trailer's cynical tagline - The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas. And I am definitely looking forward to watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo come December, largely to see what surprises Fincher has in store for us.

Out of interest, it's not impossible for Hollywood to remake a European movie and actually get it right. Based on the same book that spawned acclaimed Swedish coming of age horror Let the Right One in, last year's Let Me In received massively positive reviews. Much the same can be said for Quarantine, an American take on REC, the Spanish zombie thrillfest.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - the American version - could easily deliver, and stand on its own two feet as an entertainment entity in its own right.


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