In 2010 I was invited to the UK press screening of Platinum Dunes remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. On a wet London evening I had to surrendor my cell phone and (embarrisingly old) backpack in exchange for a shinny press kit containing pages and pages of information praising the cast and crew who had ‘re-invented‘ a horror legend. Well, we all know how that turned out (see Deadly Movies review here). One such page heaped praise upon up-and-coming leading lady Rooney Mara, a real find and star of the future it suggested, performing in her first real feature film of any notability. Deadly Movies was less than complimetary toward Mara’s performance back in 2010, in fact I barely mentioned her in the review at all (which is saying something as she was playing Nancy, one of slasher’s leading ladies). What little I did have to say about her can be found in these uninspiring words:
” In trying so hard to make Nancy a ‘plain Jane’ (as opposed to Katie Cassidy’s hot but disposable blonde) the filmmakers have forgotten to give her any personality. In fact she’s incredibly boring.“
Ouch. So It’s time to eat some pie. And I don’t mean the kind of apple pie that only your mum makes. I talking hot, steaming, and surprisingly tasty, humble pie. Rooney Mara’s performance in David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is one of the standout reason to see the movie (along with Fincher’s usual visual flair). The transformation in 12 short months from Nancy to Lisbeth is staggering. And hats off to Fincher for making this bold, brave, and very surprising casting. Mara’s physical transformation in both the literal and performance sense results in a wonderful display in a very demanding role. Not only was Fincher asking Mara to up her game tenfold for a role that involves traversing very heavy subject matter balanced with the always tricky obstacles of a foreign accent and well placed comic timing, but she also had that Elephant in the room to deal with; Noomi Rapace’s deservedly lauded turn as Lisbeth in the original Swedish Larsson-trilogy. In short It’s a mind blowing leap in performance that has rightly earned her an Oscar nod for best actress and, for me at least, the main reason I’m keen to see Fincher head back to Sweden for two more outings with Lisbeth and Mikael.