There are anti-heroes, but we rarely hear of anti-heroines. Lisbeth Salander is one of them, an edgy 24-year old with jet black hair, a ton of piercings, and a dragon tattoo. Rooney Mara is the perfect choice to play the character, not just looks-wise. Although the film begins with a male protagonist, Mara completely steals the spotlight with her breakthrough act. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is an extraordinarily well-made thriller that deserved Oscar nominations, driven by Rooney Mara’s relentless and memorable lead performance.
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The Movie Review
Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist loved by some and hated by others for his attempts to fight white-collar crime in Sweden. Blomkvist finds himself guilty for libel, and his reputation is ruined in Swedish media. So he was surprised when wealthy CEO, Henry Vanger, asks him to help him solve the 40-year disappearance of his niece,
Harriet. In return, Vanger promises to clear his name. He meets Lisbeth Salander, an antisocial but talented hacker who does background checks for the Vanger family and has done one on Blomkvist. He is pleased by her report and invites her to work as his research assistant, to which she accepts. Blomkvist and Salander discover a dark and twisted line of disappearances, violence, and murder as they probe further into the history of the unsolved crime—and they’re smack in the thick of it all.
David Fincher, the highly renowned director of The Social Network, Fight Club, and Seven, was praised for his newest thrilling thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel of the same name. The film manages to be engaging for the whole two-hour and thirty-seven-minute runtime, staying faithful to the book’s fast-paced and heart-pounding tempo. Fincher successfully compresses and conveys the novel’s thrills while losing nothing in the process. He isn’t however, the first to do a film adaptation for the book, meaning there’s a lot of pressure from both fans of the original Swedish film and the book.
It was hard to find things to dislike in this movie, but there was one thing I found awkward: the accents. There are plenty of Swedish and American actors in the film, but many of them tried doing a Swedish accent, and it was honestly distracting.
Although this version is much more graphic, the original, directed by Niels Arden Oplev, is bolder, more audacious, and considerably edgier. There are several shockingly explicit scenes in the film, such as when Lisbeth gets revenge on her legal guardian, an evil beast whose merciless rape of her may be even more explicit than it was in its traumatizing depiction in the original film.
The thing I loved the most about the film is the cast. Christopher Plummer, who was amazing in Beginners, delivers another outstanding performance as Henrik Vanger, despite playing a small role. As Harriet’s estranged brother, Stellan Skarsgard is outstanding, and Joely Richardson did great.
Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, who has previously collaborated with Fincher in The Social Network, Fight Club, and Gone Girl did a stellar job in this film as well. Another frequent collaborator is Nine Inch Nails duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, my favorite musicians ever set the overall dark tone of the film.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a great movie, one that can stand on its own even if you’ve watched the Swedish version or are familiar with Larsson’s trilogy. Many predicted this to be either a big flop or a home run out of the park, thankfully that wasn’t the case.