never ever misses an occasion to remind us it’s him behind that camera. since Zodiac it appears clearly to the trained eye, and even to the not so versed in dissecting all and every scene, take and angle. the style has become so trademark that it borders on cliché, maybe even boredom.
a friend told me she likes his rhythm and once i did too, now i just find the endless repetition tiresome and, frankly, pretentious.
even more so due to a progressively slowing pace and increase of endless dialogue.
i fondly remember the original placing of the camera’s point of view in Panic Room, the witty lines of dialogue, the ability to keep the audience on edge and interested even within the confines of a home, of a locked panic-inducing locked hole of a room.
now it seems that even across cities and roads we’re trapped in his own private enjoyment of his style. the locked doors, closed quarters, a menacing villa or the snowy landscape are good candidates for that same feeling of oppression, but fincher somehow fails to make the most of them maybe using his own tricks a bit too often.
it’s not that they don’t work, it’s that we tire of the same story over and over: finding new angles to tackle the same feelings and emotions might be a good idea, and not one that would forcefully imply a loss of distinctive directorial style.
and that was the first half of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. did i forget to mention it earlier? if my readers will excuse me, i was too concentrated on the critique of the trite cinematography, which is probably all that i could focus on having seen all three swedish movies. this opens yet another can of worms: was it really necessary to do a remake of a film that came out barely three years ago?
i’ve never hated remakes until hollywood decided that it was ok to re-do movies for no particular artistic value or sensibility, because the original is from another “era” or because the director had something new and/or different to say. there are examples of remakes that i actually like, even love, that have a point. Gus Van Sant’s Psycho of 1998, which has been largely criticized for being exactly like Hitchcock’s, when really it was a very powerful dissection of the first film, a frame by frame cinematographic analysis. i understand this is not for everyone to see, so i guess i’ll wait and see what people have to say about fincher’s work: a copy of the original, with slight variations in color and light, more hollywood-prone and less emotional. unlike the equally recent and close to original Let me in, which is a very good example (for anyone who might be interested) of how to remake recent movies adapting them to the audience rather than making blockbusters.
on to the soundtrack: last year’s Academy Award winner Trent Reznor didn’t really enjoy himself so much with this movie. with all the bad qualities The Social Network had, the soundtrack was really the only good thing to stand out. in TGwtDT it’s barely audible, barely distinctive, it gives you nothing and leaves no mark, adding nothing to many of the scenes. a few exceptions do not make up for the lack of interesting stuff throughout the movie.
and this is but the first half of the film.
the second is, well, a whole other story and really not.
the plot pics up pace, so do the interrupted sequences that try to condense and keep up with the storyline: a pick up in pace that the direction isn’t really able to follow, with an impressive result of slow shots that don’t really explain much all jumbled together to get to the end, all too quickly.
don’t get me wrong, there is still somewhere inside some spark of genius that we saw in Fight Club or Panic Room, a couple of unexpected turns of the camera and a poignant point of view from inside a plastic bag that can still be considered interesting.
but all in all the title stands: you see it and you know it’s fincher, but not in a good way, rather in a hit pop song that sounds like something you’ve heard, over and over.
so much more could be said about this film, but i’d fall into the same mistake fincher did: repetitiveness isn’t good, once you’ve criticized for a good half hour it’s about time to stop.
nevertheless, those who didn’t watch the original films might find this one more enjoyable than i did. and so i close with a good thing, kind of.