Film Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The_Girl_with_the_Dragon_Tattoo_headerBefore going on to the review, I must warn a vast majority of you all that are interested in seeing David Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s book series The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. If you cannot handle any sort of ultra-violence, which includes pictures of brutal murders and a couple of scenes of rape and torture, then this movie might not be for you. Also, if you are a movie goer and easily gets lost in such a way that you leave the theater scratching your head, then once again, this movie is probably not for you. But if you are a brave soul who loves a good murder mystery, then by all means, go and see this film.

The film follows two separate individuals who both are filled with problems. Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is a reporter, who had just been tried for libel, that is asked to figure out a 40 year family mystery about the murder of one of their own. On the other side to the story, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is a hacker who has gone through a terrible life. With not a whole lot of money to her name (mostly because she spends it once she has obtained it), she has gotten through most of her life fending for herself, doing anything necessary to uncover truths and to dig through people’s lives. About half way through the movie, the two of them join up to catch a killer of women, and explore the twists and turns throughout the lives of the family they are investigating.

That is as much as I can say without spoiling everything. Let’s just say that everything from the book is where it should be in the film. However, just like the book, the movie starts out painfully slow (though the first two minutes of credits seem to differ), and picks up once Salander and Blomkvist meet up. Also just like the book, if you miss one part of the story, you will become lost. Throughout the movie, I tried my hardest not to cough, sneeze, or even move just so I wouldn’t miss anything. Walking out of the theater, I heard multitudes of people complaining about how confusing the plot was for them, and asking who everyone was just so they understand what exactly happened. So again, if you are going to see this movie, be prepared to really pay attention, or else the entire experience will be forever lost.

But now for some praise. David Fincher has put out another beautifully shot film, in a way that resembles The Social Network without completely bottling itself. The landscapes that were shot start out as beautiful snowy getaways, but as the story progresses, the areas that were covered in snow are now open, showing an almost ugliness to the area. I can definitely see the film being nominated for a slue of the technical Academy Awards this year, as well it should be.

But one person in the movie that I can definitely see being nominated this year is Rooney Mara. Her fearless portrayal of Lisbeth was spot on, as she basically embodied my pre-conceived thoughts about who she would be (for the record, I have yet to see the original film starring Noomi Rapace). It’s hard seeing her as “The Girl From The Social Network” anymore, as she successfully breaks away from that stereotype that people might put her in. As for Daniel Craig, he did a rather excellent job in the film as well, however the lack of a Swedish accent (or what would sound a bit Swedish) kind of squashed the character for me. He still has that James Bond sort of tone to his voice, though a slight change of mannerisms helped his character quite a bit. Overall, a decent job between the two of them, as there was an unsettling chemistry between them that makes me excited to see what would happen in the next film – that is of course if they will all return.

Finally, I must commend Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for yet another superb soundtrack. The mix of bright instruments feels fresh and rather bright at times, but also has a sense of becoming uncomfortably numb. There use of bells, chimes and textures makes each scene a bit unsettling and urgent, but after multiple listens, incredibly beautiful. Look for a repeat this year when it comes to Best Original Score.

Basically, hats off to everybody. David Fincher’s adaptation of the book was pretty spot on – for myself being how slow it started, and how it gradually built up to a great climax. I do wish the end wouldn’t be so abrupt, but that’s no reason to not see the movie. Uncomfortable, stressing, and utterly brilliant. I cannot wait to see what Fincher might do with the next book.

Final Grade: A-

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