But no substance
psychotics from the missing girl’s family. Plot points are teased out. Local colour is unveiled. But it still feels as if the story hasn’t properly started until the point at which most films are moving into their third act.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo does pick up pace after that long prologue. Featuring an effectively icy score by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor – in a style we’ll call light industrial – and Finchily cobalt cinematography from Jeff Cronenweth, the picture has almost enough surface panache to transcend its schlocky plot and naive characterisation.
But was it really worth the effort? For all Fincher’s famously fanatical control, he can’t dispel the stench of half-baked cheese that hangs over the source material.
Mara pouts and sulks with enthusiasm. Her character, however, comes across like a middle-aged lay preacher’s notion of a terrifying subversive. Tattoos? How scary. Piercings? How transgressive. (Last time I checked, Samantha Cameron, wife to the UK’S prime minister, had a tattoo on her own less-dangerous ankle.) Craig’s solid performance fights to escape the hard-drinking, roughedged clichés of middle-brow crime fiction.
Comparisons with The Da Vinci Code are, nonetheless, almost certainly uncalled for. The film has almost enough old-school pennydreadful momentum to justify its comically inflated running time. It doesn’t say much, but it passes the time. It’s hugely implausible, but it has a modestly satisfactory narrative arc. We used to say much the same about Inspector Morse.
Tattoo this: Rooney Mara emphasises a point to Yorick van Wageningen