I have to admit up front I never got around to reading THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. Everyone I know who read it, loves it. So I got curious, but when I heard about a film on the book being made, I decided not to read the book yet, but go in cold. This way I can see it as a film fan, without any comparison. I went into this film as not only a fan of film in general, but one of director David Fincher.
I believe I made the right choice.
The premiss behind the movie is Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is a reporter that currently fighting charges for publishing an article with false information in it. He’s forced to leave the magazine he owns. Because of his skills, he’s hired by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), one of Sweden’s wealthiest industrialists, to find out who killed his niece. To help Mikael with his search for the truth is Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), an unusual but ingenious investigator with a security company. As they dig deeper, they find out there’s more to the murder than they thought.
Fincher is really on the top of his game in this film. Just the visual shots of Sweden are plain astonishing. I don’t know if it was me, but it seemed like there was some influence on Fincher. Some of the scenes really reminded me of scenes shot by Ingmar Bergman & Stanley Kubrick. For the most part Fincher keeps the story moving with really 2 exceptions.
The first was the opening. It starts off with Plummer’s character talking to another man about a gift he received, and then it jumps into the opening credits that were like a music video on Headbanger’s Ball (you can see it here). I always felt the credits need to set the tone for the film, but this visual stunning, though anarchistic stimulation, really didn’t work for me. It was loud & in my face. When it ended, it took me a little while to get back into the film.
The other issue was at the end with the epilogue to the sub-plot. Fincher really dragged it out way too long. He could have shaved off a 1/2 hour of the film.
The casting and acting are extremely solid in this film. Craig is really believable as a flawed reporter. It’s a different side I’ve never seen of him. Most of my exposure of Craig is as a though guy, and the character of Mikael, really isn’t one.
The true scene stealer is Mara as Lisbeth. There are so many levels to this characters, it’s just hard to describe. She’s hard and yet vulnerable at the same time. She really is a multifaceted character. Mara does a great job, just bringing her to life on the screen.
Fincher once again teams up with Trent Reznor for the score of the film. With the exception I listed above about the opening credits, it really works and helps the pacing.
Bottom line, this is overall a great film. It’s definitely something you want to see on the big screen.
Now that I’ve seen THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, I really have to read the book.
Also, on a side note, the original Swedish movie version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is available for streaming on Netflix. It’ll be amazing if people actually watch it though, as most Americans don’t like to read while the watch a movie.
Brian “Pendragon” Isaacs