The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

December 26, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

The feel bad movie of Christmas delivers the blood-stained goods, exposing more viewers to the iconic character of Lisbeth Salander, created by author Stieg Larrson. Remakes are a nasty habit in Hollywood, but if they’re going to happen, they better be done right and with a new flair about them. David Fincher tries his utmost at producing just that with this new take on the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, headlined by Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, in her breakout performance.

Fincher fills the frame with cold, dreary settings, capturing the feel of a dark and isolated world where people are expected to be rotten. The film is shot with a style that kills, like when the camera weaves from the point of view of Lisbeth’s motorcycle or the frames pulse with raw sex appeal in a club scene, but there’s an ample amount of substance as well. Larsson’s story is quite engrossing, and Lisbeth is such a rich character that it’s almost impossible to look away. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross do an amazing job with the soundtrack, capturing the frantic world of Lisbeth and Mikael. This adaptation is hard not to compare to the Swedish version, because the plot doesn’t differ much, but Fincher breathes new life into it with his unique touch.

Rooney Mara gives a hard-hitting performance playing Lisbeth Salander, an anti-social hacker with a dark past, that is the ceiling for tough women. Mara, as Lisbeth, is so insane and awkward that you can’t look away, but Mara also manages to make her a character to root for. She invests herself completely in the role, with a magnetic attraction that can’t be denied. Daniel Craig, playing Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist that is hired to solve a murder mystery that is decades old, gives a solid performance. Mikael is burnt out from his libel-charge, and carries that with him throughout the film, trying to solve the murder case of a young girl named Harriet, who has a very dark, even sinister, group of family members.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a tale of revenge that doesn’t let up or hold back, with the mesmerizing character of Lisbeth Salander at the center of it all. The film introduces the world to the talents of Rooney Mara, and showcases that David Fincher is still in his prime.

Potential Drawbacks:

If you’ve seen the Swedish version first, this may be a hard one to get through because there’s no surprises and the suspense may be deflated. You simply can’t un-watch the original Swedish version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Some may think that Daniel Craig plays Mikael in a laconic way, and may find the actor in the original a little more interesting to watch. Additionally, some may think that Rooney Mara is a little too confident, and laid back as Lisbeth Salander, losing that layer of the character that fights to hide her vulnerability. Noomi Rapace’s performance of Lisbeth Salander is obviously hard to top.

Film Recommendations:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

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