Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Sahara Shrestha and Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.

The latest edition is brought to you by Andrew Jamieson, who can be found on twitter over at @theghostwriterc.

24 Frames: The 'Fifty Shades of Fincher' Edition

Over the past few weeks the casting news that many fans had been waiting for arrived when Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson were cast in the highly anticipated movie adaptation of the spuriously popular Fifty Shades of Grey which is due for release in 2014. The anticipation for the movie is already reaching fever pitch. The news about the forthcoming adaptation made me think of another picture that was based on a bestselling novel: David Fincher's superbly morbid and intimate The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Fincher has just been enlisted to direct the movie adaptation of another popular novella in Gone Girl which is slated for release in 2015 and stars Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in lead roles. I thought I would revisit what I see as another special addition to Fincher's pantheon of movies


As somebody who loved the Swedish adaptation of the source novel by Stieg Larsson, in which Noomi Rapace gave one of the best performances of 2009 as the iconic Lisbeth Salander (who is played here by Rooney Mara). I loved the Swedish movie so much that I could not see why another adaptation was necessary. David Fincher changed my mind as he gave the story a fresh canvas in which to breathe.

At the time David Fincher's remake was released I avoided making comparisons between the two adaptations, now I understand that contextually this is unavoidable. While the original movie is far more efficient at portraying the cultural nuances of Swedish history and culture, the European adaptation portrays the moribund legacy of world war two and neo-fascism on Swedish culture in a way that gives a relatively low budget production a sense of gravitas. It also illustrates Larsson's vision of a society rife with social injustice and misogyny in a far better way than David Fincher's movie.

However what Fincher is able to do is to work concisely within the confides of his main characters. When viewed in isolation the original movie ends with a cathartic ending, while the US remake ends on a melancholic note that is far more in keeping with the storytelling aesthetic that we had already seen in Fincher's previous movies such as Se7en (1995), Zodiac (2007) and Fight Club (1999). Fincher also marries the European cinematic sensibility of illustrating character through events and subtle moments rather than the huge landscapes of emotion that US audiences are accustomed to.

The cast here is superb, Rooney Mara's dedication to her craft is astounding. This is overtly portrayed in the most disturbing scenes of the movie. Her co-star in these harrowing scenes, (Swede, Yorick van Wageningham) spoke openly at the time about just how reviled he was about shooting the scenes of sexual violence in the movie. They are terrifying, but I do not believe they are voyeuristic as some critics of both movies did. Mara also portrays the iconic spirit, emotionality and existentially complex Lisbeth in a fashion that is inspirational. Daniel Craig is deftly subtle and the difference between this performance as Mikael Blomkvist and his portrayal as Ian Fleming's spy James Bond are here to behold. Craig's portrayal of an investigative, sensitive man who can listen to women is the less showy role but is still affecting to the audience. Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright and Goran Visnjic are all equally brilliant

  • David Fincher directs Daniel Craig on the set

To me David Fincher is still one of the most visually astounding directors in mainstream cinema. While Christopher Nolan prefers to shoot on my favourite format which is film, Fincher prefers digital, and here uses cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth and the subtle induction of digital effects to give a beautifully sedate and detailed image.

The movie has the same visual cues as The Social Network which was also shot by Cronenweth as was Fight Club and the forthcoming Gone Girl. Fincher gives us a bombastically beautiful title sequence the likes of which he had not done since his seminal serial killer movie in 1995 (which also featured Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails song, and it is he and Atticus Ross who score this movie). The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' front woman Karen O turns Led Zeppelin's 1970's hit 'Immigrant Song' on its head.

With this movie Fincher again shows that he understands his characters as much his ability to give the audience a stunningly rich visual palette. While the box office returns for the movie were not what the studio had anticipated I believe it was a courageous movie because of the fact that it never seeks to water down its R Rated sensibility to pander to the cash register. It also offers a telling reminder of just how good the adaptation of a modern day bestseller can be. While I am not a fan of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' I hope it is a good movie experience for faithful fans of the novel. Those lovers of the E L James novel should pray it's as great as this adaptation is.

See Also: 24 Frames: The 'Blu Ray Into Darkness' Edition