Millions have read the Stieg Larsson novel and/or seen the $100 million-grossing Swedish movie. Can there really be anything we don't know about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?
Yes, chiefly: What is David Fincher going to do with Mikael Blomkvist, Lisbeth Salander and their twisted, twisted world?
1. It Ain't No Comedy: The nerve-jangling Trent Reznor-Karen O music. The unsettling cuts. The "Feel Bad Movie of Christmas" tag line. Yup, it looks like Fincher got the memo: In Sweden, the title of Larsson's thriller roughly translates to the chilling "Men Who Hate Women."
2. It's Probably in English: If we didn't know Daniel Craig, Fincher's journalist-turned-sleuth Mikael, and Rooney Mara, his heroine hacker Lisbeth, were from England and New York, respectively, we couldn't even be that definitive. As in the Swedish film's trailer for the U.S. release, there's not a single line of dialogue in the Fincher clips.
3. It's Just Like Gus Van Sant's Psycho: Watch the Swedish trailer and the Fincher trailer(s) back-to-back—preferably with the sound off. Minus the voice-over (Swedish version) and the Led Zeppelin cover (Fincher version), and can you tell the two apart? That snow! That bridge! That big house! That dead ringer for Swedish star Michael Nyqvist (aka Craig)! It sure looks as if, as promised, Fincher is being awfully faithful to the Swedish film, which itself was awfully faithful to the Larsson text.
4. It's Nothing Like Gus Van Sant's Psycho: As successful as the Swedish film was here, it was a success as a foreign-language film on the art-house circuit. The bottom line: Fincher can crib (pay homage to?) all the shots he wants; his version, like his trailers, is still going to feel as bloody fresh as a newly inked tattoo.
5. The Flashbacks Are Gonna Be Real (Time) Trips: In the Swedish film, the old photos of the skeleton-hiding Vanger clan—the ones that Mikael's always studying for inspiration—don't look all that old. We're not complaining. After all, what should we expect for $10 million and change? Now as for what we should expect from Fincher's $100 million version… We should expect meticulously crafted, JFK-style recreations. And that's what it looks like we're getting.