It’s rare to get distracted by home furnishings when you’re about to witness sadistic violence. But I guarantee that’s what will happen when you sit down to watch ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.’
Do Scandinavians have half a year of near darkness? Yes. Did they give us Ace of Bass? Guilty as charged. Do they, if this movie is anything to go on, have a plethora of women-hating psychopaths? Definitely. But do they have the cleanest, coolest kitchens in the world? Undoubtedly.
Director David Fincher insisted on filming this movie in Sweden, where the original Larsson novel is set. Brave of him, because studio bosses could have insisted on Seattle. But it’s what makes the movie. Skandi style is everywhere – in the pure lines of cream sofas, in minimalist dining tables, on granite kitchen surfaces, even in the rustic chic of journalist Blomkvist’s rural retreat. It’s a real shame to eviscerate anyone and spoil the spotless décor.
If you’re not one of the 65 million people who bought Steig Larsson’s books, then the plot is this: journalist Michel Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired by the elderly industrialist Henrik Vangar to find out what happened to his niece, after she disappeared forty years ago. He’s helped in this by verging-on-the-sociopathic computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (played here by Rooney Mara.)
As we revealed in this week's Grazia, 26 year old Mara not only chopped off her hair to have it played with like plasticine in this film – you see it moulded into everything from plaits to a mohawk – but she even pierced her nipple to add authenticity. It was, however, the bleaching of her eyebrows which she says caused her to ask for 'a moment' to contemplate (or cry over) her new face. It works though – she’s all shadow-under-the-eyes intensity.
Mara’s Lisbeth is about to emerge as the acceptable face of bondage chic (Lady Gaga being the unacceptable one) and she should keep All Saints afloat for another few months as fans search for imitations. Sod Kate and Pippa and their ladylike manners – after seeing this you’ll be wanting to burn rubber through the Swedish countryside before chain-smoking for 36 hours in front of your computer. And then you’ll go beat someone up to save your man.
By contrast, Daniel Craig is swathed in knitwear like a member of the now defunct Westlife. Sarah Lund still has nothing to worry about in the Scandinavian sweater stakes, but Craig looks so pretty you’ll long to unwrap him. Stylists bought him 30 pairs of the same jeans – by Scotch and Soda – to wear throughout filming. As Blomkvist, he’s a typical journalist – deeply concerned about social morality; yet having a bit of serious adultery on the side. This being Sweden, it’s handled with the minimum of fuss.
At two hours and thirty seven minutes long, this ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ will keep you gripped nearly throughout. Fans of the book shouldn’t be disappointed, though Fincher has of necessity had to prune. The violence at times is downright distressing; the tale is as dark and brooding as any Scandinavian winter; the sexual chemistry between Craig and Mara crackles. Lap it up – and don’t blame me if you have an unaccountable urge to visit IKEA afterwards.
by Emma Pritchard Jones