[WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW]
is that it is bafflelingly casted. I noticed it, now that posters of the film are everywhere – in train stations, on bus stops – to promote the DVD and Bluray of the film. David Fincher’s American film remake of the Swedish miniseries original casts James Bond opposite that girl from the opening scene of The Social Network. It is silly, and a little bit creepy.
In the original miniseries Män Som Hattar Kvinnor (“Man Who Hate Women”) the middle-aged journalist Mikael Blomkvist was played by Swedish actor Michael Nikvist. Nikvist (1960) is notably older than Daniel Craig (1968), and not only because of the years, but also because of the looks. Moreover, Movie Star Craig can put on some glasses and wear sloppy clothing, but he remains 007. Action hero. Sex god. Craig’s Blomkvist can’t be in serious danger when he is caught by serial killer Martin Vanger. He can’t depend on the aid of a 23 year old slightly autistic punk girl! This happens, but I never believe it.
If Nikvist’s Blomkvist ends up in bed with almost every woman he meets, then there must be something special about him below the surface. Or it is a comment on Swedish society; a very wry one in a relatively feminist text as the Millenium books. If James Bond sleeps with every woman in the film, that’s just… normal. Daily routine. It means nothing.
So the betrayal that Lisbeth Salander feels when she sees Blomkvist embracing his editor Erika Berger at the end of the film means exactly that: nothing. Silly girl, did you really think he would stick around with you? You just bought him a jacket that you saw him wearing in a picture of him and his ex-wife. Do you really think you are mature enough to be with him?
Salander doesn’t stand a chance with Craig’s Blomkvist. She is played Rooney Mara, a young and talented actress who nevertheless does not do a lot more than a sufficient imitation of Noomi Rapace. Mara (1985) is notably younger than Rapace (1979) and is in age closer to the Lisbeth Salander of the book. But she is not by far as strong a Salander’s Rapace. So with a stronger Blomkvist and a weaker Salander, their brief relationship is never destined for anything more than a pity fuck on a cold and isolated island. The fact that Blomkvist’s teenage daughter (who cannot be less than seven years younger than Salander) plays a small but significant role in Fincher’s film, and not in the original, only heightens the sense of inapproriateness, even creepiness.
And yet. There is this one moment in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in which all of this is turned around. It is too small a moment to save the film, but it is there. When Blomkvist arrives at the cottage after he is being shot at, with a superficial but bloody wound on his forehead, Salander makes him sit down in the bath tub, with his clothes on and the shower running. It does not only cleanse him of the blood, but also of the stress and the fear. It is the mirror image of that one scene in Casino Royale, in which Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd sits in the shower, clothes on, with the water running, after she witnessed a brutal fight between Craig’s Bond and two African assasins. Bond sits down next to her and embraces her tenderly.
Salander does not embrace Blomkvist tenderly. She sterilizes a needle with vodka, cleans his wound with the drink and stiches him up. Excellent.