Hol­ly­wood’s take on Stieg Lars­son’s novel is stylish but empty, writes

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reviews -

IT WOULD BE un­fair (pos­si­bly ac­tion­able) to draw too many com­par­isons with The Da Vinci Code, but, while watch­ing David Fincher’s suave, of­ten lethar­gic walk­through of Stieg Lars­son’s sen­sa­tion novel, un­wel­come thoughts of that wretched film do swim to the sur­face.

A great deal of ef­fort and money has gone into ren­der­ing the plot as faith­fully as pos­si­ble, yet it’s hard to avoid the sense that too much fuss is be­ing made about not very much. Vast swathes of the sup­posed ac­tion com­prise fur­rowed ac­tors star­ing at com­puter screens or flick­ing through pho­tographs. Pu­ta­tive


rev­e­la­tions play like mi­nor foot­notes. Though the story has been juiced up with spurts of sex­ual vi­o­lence and para­graphs of tech­nob­a­b­ble, it still plays like a half-de­cent episode of In­spec­tor Morse with ideas above its sta­tion.

Mind you, David Fincher might be just the right man to take on such a beast. The former pop video di­rec­tor is an im­pres­sive stylist, but no­body could mis­take his se­duc­tive, empty films for the work of an in­tel­lec­tual.

Con­sider the hi­lar­i­ously vul­gar ti­tle se­quence. Sug­gest­ing the open­ing of a Pierce Bros­nan Bond film, the snip­pet fea­tures oily an­i­ma­tions scored to a re­vamped ver­sion of Led Zep­pelin’s Im­mi­grant Song. Did Fincher re­ally pick that tune be­cause it fea­tures the words “ice and snow” in the first line? The film is set in Scan­di­navia, af­ter all.

At any rate, given that ev­ery­body on earth has read The Girl with the Dragon Tat­too or seen the ser­vice­able (not dis­sim­i­lar) Swedish film adap­ta­tion, the pedes­trian plot prob­a­bly re­quires only the sketchi­est summary.

Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist for some ar­chaic en­tity known as “a mag­a­zine”, has just left his job af­ter get­ting mugged in a li­bel case. He takes an as­sign­ment from an el­derly in­dus­tri­al­ist (Christo­pher Plum­mer) to in­ves­ti­gate the dis­ap­pear­ance of the mogul’s grand­niece in the late 1960s. Af­ter too much pre­lim­i­nary shuf­fling about in the snow, Mikael gains an un­likely Dr Wat­son in the form of a tat­tooed, pierced com­puter hacker named Lis­beth Sa­lan­der (Rooney Mara).

Once again, as in the Swedish ver­sion, the film in­her­its a hor­ri­ble struc­tural de­fect from Lars­son’s novel. For the first hour, Lis­beth and Mikael live un­con­nected lives. The hacker en­acts an in­ge­nious, de­served re­venge on the stateap­pointed carer who has been sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her. Mikael meets var­i­ous in­ter­change­able

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