Hey, Hollywood! Leave the Original alone!

I can’t say I was thrilled at the sudden ambush of imagery and emotion that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hurled at me. No. I haven’t read the book – and this is not a book review.

I was invited to go and see the screening, assured that the book – part one in a trilogy – had been expertly crafted and that the second and third films in the series would be released seven weeks apart. With my currently (blessed) brimming diary, I knew there was no hope I would ever read the first, get to see the movie and read the second within seven weeks. I am not a slow reader. I just need to both feel inspired and find the time to do so. Hard these days. October / November brings with it pale, overworked expressions and stale uninterested responses to invitations and proposals, and time on the couch with mindless reality TV wins in the wager of intellect versus the inane.

Anyhoo… snacks in hand, I sat down to watch what I ultimately (and in hindsight) recommend as a cinematic chief in its combination of performances, cinematography, direction of photography and editing. And because it is originally a European film, all the more attention to detail has been paid to the combination of these elements and their articulate delivery of the master message. The exact elements that shocked me – because I didn’t know what was coming – is exactly what the Americans will “dumb down” and soften in their patronising cinematic remake; just in case someone in South Carolina gets upset and causes a furore about what is available on screen out there. Who can say? But the difference between American and non-American cinema is obvious. Yes, this comes from the same person who loved Eat Pray Love, but Eat Pray Love was written by an American and didn’t require the advantage of a foreign vantage point to deliver it with a punch.

Hollywood is a phenomenon like no other and their mark on our impressions are immeasurable. Why, when they do so well all by themselves, they still have to ‘fix what aint broken’ is however beyond me. Why did they remake “Death at a Funeral”? Why are they looking at remaking this trilogy in question? It’s not like this was popular in the 70s. They are fresh, modern incarnations of books currently headlining best-seller lists here, there and everywhere.

I have been asking my friends who know the stories and who have seen the first film, who if any from the American roster of young talent could match or better Noomi Rapace’s impeccable performance. This was followed by long silences and chin-rubbing thoughtfulness. Charlize Theron could but she is too old for the role. Dakota Fanning – absolutely – but she may be too young. Natalie Portman, perhaps? Naomi Watts? Sure. It’s a tough question. But the first one to be answered is why should there have to be one, anyway? Why doesn’t Hollywood just leave it alone?

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