Jungle
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
Genre: 
In Theatres: 
Dec 21, 2011
Grade:
A+
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 38 Minutes
Did you know?

The piercings (including multiple ear, eyebrow, and nipple piercings) that Rooney Mara sports as Lisbeth Salander are real, not cosmetic simulations. Mara got the piercings in a series of sessions in Brooklyn and Sweden.

When it comes to dark thrillers, nobody knows the genre better than David Fincher. Responsible for such films as Se7en, The Game, and Zodiac, the director has gained critical acclaim for his work. If there’s anyone who can properly tackle an American remake of the critically acclaimed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it’s Fincher.

Based on the award winning novel and Swedish film by the same name, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) as he tries to uncover the dark secrets surrounding the Vanger estate and the disappearance of Harriet Vanger during the 1960s. Taking residence on a small island inhabited by the entire Vagner bloodline, Mikael must secretly interview every family member and attempt to piece together the clues surrounding the girl’s disappearance. Everyone has their secrets, some much darker than others, and he will need all the help he can get to uncover them. Mikael is assisted by the young and technologically-talented Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) whose gothic and independent demeanor creates one of the most memorable characters in recent film.

Intertwined with the investigation into Harriet’s disappearance is a much darker theme of sexual violence against women. All her life, Lisbeth has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals and foster care and has greatly suffered at the hands of her abusers. Fincher doesn’t tiptoe around this subject. As in the original, there are multiple disturbing and often times violent scenes that will leave you breathless and disgusted. The emotional pull of these scenes can be credited to Rooney Mara, who does a phenomenal job portraying Lisbeth Salander. Her acting is spot on and the dedication she puts into the role can be witnessed in every instance. From the outside, Lisbeth may look like some loner gothic chick but through Mara’s subtle gestures and tone we see how misunderstood she really is. Lisbeth Salander has always been at the center of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Rooney Mara’s performance cannot be applauded enough.

The other standout performance in the film comes not from an actor but from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who comprised the thrilling score for the film. The often eerie and fast paced composition fits perfectly with the tone of the film and intensifies during key moments. While the story remains closely similar to the Swedish version of the film, it’s the soundtrack that creates an entirely different atmosphere.

Foreign film remakes are not often a good idea as they rarely live up to the expectations set forth by their original counterparts. Just look at Let Me In as a prime example. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo manages to exceed expectations with its stellar cast performances and incredible cinematography. Every aspect falls perfectly into place, making it one of this year’s best films.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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