Opening 12 Jan 2012
Verblendung is part one of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and was first brought to the big screen by the Swedish director Niels Arden Opley in 2009 with world-wide success, seen by six million people. Taking into account that 65 million books have been sold, few viewers will come to this new version without certain expectations.
David Fincher (The Social Network) directs the American re-make starting off with a thundering psychedelic music-video of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” fit for a Bond movie. The powerful industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) hires the disgraced left-wing journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to shed light on the mysterious disappearance of his beloved niece Harriet. He believes she might have been murdered by a family member. It is not an easy task as all family members act suspiciously and even hostile towards Blomkvist. Having to live on the isolated wintry island adds to his discomfort. To help in his research he recruits Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), an eccentric detective of a security firm. The pierced and tattooed Lisbeth is no ordinary detective but a computer hacker par excellence and totally devoted to the cause – and eventually to Mikael. With her help he finds unresolved murder cases and family secrets going back 40 years. At the same time the story deals with themes like corporate corruption, globalisation, social welfare, racism, rape and revenge.
This high-standard, sleek thriller is scripted by Steven Zaillian, staying close to the details of the novel by focusing on the characters of Blomkvist and Salander. Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth perfectly catches the icy atmosphere on the island with his sharp visuals. A stellar cast, mainly from England and Scandinavia, include Stellan Skarsgard (a chillingly smooth Martin Vanger), Robin Wright, Yorick van Wageningen (very impressive as the rapist guardian) and Joely Richardson. The young Rooney Mara shows a wide range of her acting talent as a fearless, punky Lisbeth Salander, almost stealing the show from Daniel Craig. Even if the new version brings no real surprises (except a different ending), it still remains an absorbing story set in the north of Europe. (Birgit Schrumpf)