Taking on the recently successful “Millennium Series” could be seen as professional suicide by many, but that hasn’t put off the risk taking, anti-authoritarian director David Fincher (Fight Club).

Se7en burst on to our screens back in 1995 and Fincher has never looked back. Now fresh off the back of The Social Network, his stock has continued to rise. Once again the spotlight has firmly returned with his first ever remake and greatest challenge to date, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo coming later this year.

Fincher’s Rise


Neighbour to George Lucas growing up, Fincher got his big break, aged 28, directing the widely recognised flop Alien 3. Here he first battled authority with a constant struggle against the studios which resulted in being dismissed three times from the project in two years. The young director claimed that “not enough trust had been placed in his inexperienced hands”. Unsuccessful in the battle for the film to follow his own vision, he produced a more than disappointing follow up to Cameron and Scott’s preceding films.

The story is a gripping, edgy, “whodunit” which is a lot darker than Fincher’s usual projects.

Trust instilled, Fincher’s artistic restraint released and a big budget has proved the successful recipe for an array of cult films any director would be proud of; with Fight Club, Se7en, The Game and The Social Network to name but a few, Fincher’s cinematic shots and inventive take on the films leave a lasting impression on the captured audience.

License to Thrill?


Now currently filming The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, although not unquestioned by Sony, Fincher had free rein to recruit his envisaged cast for the direct remake of the 2005 book. Made famous posthumously by Stieg Larsson, it follows investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and the abused, bi-sexual, pierced punk protagonist Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Salander, a computer hacker, allies with Blomkvist as they investigate a 40 year old mysterious cold case that leads to a wealthy Swedish family. The story is a gripping, edgy, “whodunit” which is a lot darker than Fincher’s usual projects. It will be interesting to see how the books infamous rape scene and the resulting revenge will come across via Fincher’s imaginative world.

Fincher failed to initially match the studio’s vision of an adult franchise for this series.

Reluctant to delve into a serial killer film once more (after Se7en and Zodiac), Fincher failed to initially match the studio’s vision of an adult franchise for this series. However once he read the script and was given licence to thrill from Scott Rudin it proved too good an opportunity to turn down.

A Risky Conclusion

Fincher will risk the outcry of the series’ fanatics as he, with talented scriptwriter, Steve Zaillian (Schindlers List, Gangs of New York), deviated from the novel with a change in emphasis on the characters and controversially a new ending. The change in denouement will remain a secret but insiders at W magazine have described it as a “more interesting” conclusion. Yes, fan wrath is a possibility, but I think this educated gamble will work for Fincher and the screen. Traditionally, remakes are no better than their predecessors with sparse exceptions to the rule, but, by Fincher converting his own ideas, whilst admittedly a big risk, it allows him to ascertain much needed originality and avoids a carbon copy. When Fincher doesn’t compromise on his creative canvas he produces time after time and I am sure he will once again.

When Fincher doesn’t compromise on his creative canvas he produces time after time…

After watching the original Swedish version by Niels Arden Oplev I can empathise with the reservations, but if Fincher can turn a film about Facebook in to a box office smash then I am quietly confident this film will be the exception to the rule and be better than its predecessor. To the many Millennium Series fans I implore you to put the same trust in Fincher he has received, post Alien 3, making him so successful. If, however, you are yet to see or read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo you are sure to see another unhindered Fincher masterpiece.

 

The film is scheduled to be released on 26th December 2011 in the UK.

Image courtesy of Brad Swanson

 

 

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