Monday, 2 January 2012
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Henrik Vanger's (Christopher Plummer) lamp-lit personal library, with lots of dark wood and leather-bound volumes, spoke of a cultured patriarch representing, as one character calls him, 'the old Sweden.' He has handed control of the family firm to his nephew (Stellan Skarsgård). Creepy company archives - ramshackle, oddly lit, and a possible repository of secrets - warn us that there's more to this personification of 'the new Sweden' than Kartell lamps and Fritz Hansen armchairs.
In a classy piece of bifurcated montage, the identity of the killer becomes known to journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and troubled subculture sprite Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) simultaneously. Befitting his status as the salt 'n' peppered newspaperman, Blomkvist interviews an elderly Nazi surrounded by teetering piles of books (a more problematic vision of old Sweden) before discovering the identity of the killer with the carefully organized use of his laptop, photographs, copious notes and ground Java. Old school journalism. Lisbeth sips on Nescafe and devours a sugary snack, while piecing together seemingly random clues found in the company archive using information retrieval tricks old (a card catalogue) and new (hacking). New school... what exactly? Salander is a problem for both Larsson and Fincher, and a problem that strains the credulity of both visions. Lisbeth isn't just a maladjusted hacker; she's a walking deus ex machina who can be relied upon to say 'pwff... whatever' to every problem and deliver every solution just in time. At least she still needs to consult the library.