Let me start off by saying that I’ve not read the book, nor have I seen the original, version of this film. With that said, this is an impressive thriller. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tells the story of investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), who is hired by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plumer)—the retired head of a very lucrative, well-established and family-owned cluster of businesses—to discreetly investigate the disappearance and suspected murder of his niece Harriett. Harriett’s been gone for decades, but Mikael takes Herik up on his offer of a hefty paycheck because it comes tethered to an opportunity at ultimate revenge.
Mikael realizes after initial interviews with some of the Vangers that he’s going to need some serious help with this investigation. Enter Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Together they drag Nazi skeletons, abusive relationships and broken dreams out of Vanger closets throughout the entire film.
Lisbeth is a genius hacker who cracks skulls and takes what she wants. She’s as complicated as they come and fiercely protective of her self and her freedom. She is Mikael’s assistant and her investigative skills, twisted affinity for justice and overall badassness make her impossible to discard. Mara portrays rage incarnate. She’s pissed off and armed with a genius mind—she’s unstoppable and undeniable.
This movie’s full of the action scenes that American moviegoers expect when they cough up 10+ dollars to go out to the movies and it works. Sure, there are bits of the film when conventional storytelling methods are put into play, but with such a convoluted family history and supremely complicated pair of lead characters, they don’t’ really take away from the overall effect of the film. I am impressed with David Fincher for choosing to keep in line with the graphic nature of the original book and movie. The nudity isn’t gratuitous but you will definitely enjoy some of it. The violence is disturbing, but completely merited and necessary when you put it into context.
Daniel Craig puts on a good show, but the stand out in this film is Roony Mara. Her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander is captivating and convincing. She conveys multiple emotions simultaneously and holds that complicated air in a flattering light. She makes the movie the way Daniel Craig makes James Bond.
Fincher impresses with this. He’s brought American audiences a film with extreme violence and provocative nudity. It’s a movie with intricate storytelling that is laced with good old American action sequence. It is an intense ride that will keep you in a satisfyingly anxious state for the entire 158 minutes you’re watching.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) – B+
B+ = Give this one a go for sure. You will most likely enjoy it and if /when it comes on cable, you will probably watch it through to the end regardless of your starting point.