The late Stieg Larsson's grim tale of a 40-year-old murder has become my latest obsession. I have been mesmerised by the novel and the slick David Fincher adaptation which was released just before Christmas.
I was struck by how monumental the 'death' of the young, attractive women becomes in the hands of a skilled story teller. We abhore the corruption and killing of young women above all things. From the Rape of the Sabine Women, to poor Ophelia to the almost rhetorical question of 'Who killed Laura Palmer?' such tales exert a grim fascination for us. Larsson counterpoises the blonde, angelic victim, Harriet, with the fractured personality of Lisbeth, the tale's hacker-heroine. However, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear these girls have a lot in common and the book's original title, Men Who Hate Women, is wholly apt.
The material is ripe for Fincher, a veteran of the feel-bad film. Part of the reason for my adoration is the style of the package. From the surreal black-on-black credit sequence to the chilly snowscapes the film is a tour de force of iconic imagery (much of which is available on the Mouth Taped Shut tumblr). The soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is also superb. Hovering around all of this like a gawky, anorexic child is Lisbeth herself. Roony Mara is unrecognizable as she peers out from behind her bleached brows, pallid makeup, facial (and nipple) piercings. Her EMO wardrobe inspired a range of clothes the designer Trish Summerville did for H&M, which sold out within a couple of weeks. There was also the stunning W Magazine shoot.
I feel a little bad typing this as a footnote, but there is, of course, the Swedish film. I saw it shortly before I watched Fincher's version. I was impressed, but I felt it was far less styled than its American counterpart.
here for an interesting dissection of the design.