Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - LEIGH PAATSCH

Leigh Paatsch looks for awards sea­son win­ners.

THE news that Hol­ly­wood was mak­ing its own pass at the late Stieg Lars­son’s Mil­len­nium Tril­ogy books was met with much knit­ting of brows. Surely those Swedish- made adap­ta­tions – top- notch tele­movies though they were – set the de­fin­i­tive stan­dard?

How could there be an­other Lis­beth Sa­lan­der af­ter Noomi Ra­pace made the role of the head­strong hacker so fe­ro­ciously her own?

But noth­ing has been lost in trans­la­tion dur­ing the mak­ing of The Girl with the Dragon Tat­too. And plenty more has been found to deepen our im­mer­sion in that fa­mously bleak Mil­len­nium uni­verse.

The key here is the con­trol­ling hand – no, make that the clin­i­cal stran­gle­hold – ex­erted by di­rec­tor David Fincher.

A proven mas­ter of crime pro­ce­du­rals af­ter Se7en and Zodiac, Fincher wisely shies away from re­mak­ing the Swedish films. In­stead, he re- ex­am­ines the open­ing vol­ume of Lars­son’s cel­e­brated se­ries for ev­i­dence of what the se­cre­tive author was re­ally driv­ing at.

The orig­i­nal Swedish ti­tle of the first Lars­son book is Men Who Hate Women. It is this theme of misog­yny, taken to of­ten macabre ex­tremes, that draws us closer to un­der­stand­ing Lis­beth Sa­lan­der than ever be­fore.

Make no mis­take, this an­ar­chic anti- hero­ine is a mys­tery unto her­self. This is where the cast­ing of the rel­a­tively un­known ( and ut­terly bril­liant) Rooney Mara as Lis­beth comes in.

And Mara sets about re­leas­ing all the pain, rage and in­stinc­tive in­tel­li­gence bot­tled up in her char­ac­ter, an­other jolt to the view­ers’ senses is never far away.

Later in the film, when work­ing in tan­dem ( and shar­ing in­cred­i­ble chem­istry) with Daniel Craig as cru­sad­ing jour­nal­ist Mikael Blomkvist, Mara care­fully un­locks an­other per­spec­tive on Lis­beth many view­ers will not have ex­pected.

In Mara’s hands, the char­ac­ter of Lis­beth has not been soft­ened. Rather, the part has been sen­si­tised and our abil­ity to re­late to her anger is all the stronger for it.

Mara’s per­for­mance is so pow­er­ful – and her in­ter­play with Craig so en­tic­ingly en­crypted – that the time- shifted who­dun­nit the pair is in­ves­ti­gat­ing is al­most a sec­ondary mat­ter.

Al­most, were it not for Fincher’s evoca­tive way with an In­sta­gram- es­que flash­back to the 1960s, and some shrewd con­tri­bu­tions from an ace sup­port cast ( led by Christo­pher Plum­mer as an ail­ing ty­coon and Stel­lan Skars­gard as the heir ap­par­ent).

Now show­ing Vil­lage and State cine­mas

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