Those still trying to erase the disturbing anal-rape images from 2009’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” should stay away from the new one. It’s basically the same, but in English without subtitles and with different actors.
Again based on the late Stieg Larsson’s novel (the first in a trilogy), “Dragon” is helmed by star director David Fincher (“The Social Network,” “Benjamin Button”) and takes us back to a wintry desolate Swedish island, ruled by a sick rich family of Nazis and/or misogynists.
There seems to be one non-rotten apple in the bunch, Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), who wants a decades-old mystery solved. He hires down-and-out journalist Mikael Blomkvist (stone-faced Daniel Craig) to figure out what happened to his grand niece, Harriet. Mikael enlists goth-girl Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara, replacing equally as effective Noomi Rapace), the titular “Dragon Tattoo” computer hacker wiz. As in the other film, the story picks up whenever Elisabeth is on screen. Abused in her youth, she’s also the anal-rape victim and resulting avenging angel. As darkly powerful a hero as Batman, Lisbeth is the reason for the books’ and movies’ popularity.
The new “Dragon” is long (158 minutes) and convoluted, but like its Swedish counterpart, Lisabeth is the lightning rod igniting what would otherwise be tedious plot twisting. While Mara is electric, Craig’s Mikael seems strangely uninvolved.
Anyone hooked into the new Lisbeth will get to see more Mara is the next two installments of the trilogy. They are sure to revive any upsetting images seen in the Swedish versions.