Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Christopher Plummer.
Director: David Fincher
Running Time: 158 minutes
Rating: R

After reading the first installment of the late Stieg Larsson‘s trilogy, I was highly anticipating seeing “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” (I’ve heard awesome things about the Swedish version of the film, and look forward to seeing, or rather reading, it too.) A techno version of “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin plays during the opening credits, and sets the badass mood of the film. Androgynous figures, black leather and melting flowers are among the confusing, yet visually stimulating images. 

After 100 pages in the book, or 15 minutes onscreen, the plot unfolds. The CEO of a major corporation in Sweden hires Mikael Blomkvist (played by Daniel Craig) to solve a mystery that’s been haunting him for decades. Blomkvist is soon in need of an assistant, and looks to computer hacker and loner Lisbeth Salander (played beautifully by Rooney Mara) for assistance. I found Mara’s portrayal of Salander much more likeable and accessible than Larsson’s character in the book. She was given subtly humorous lines and a more obvious sexual side, which made her more human than Larsson’s conflicted and unreachable heroine. Craig was strong (though ironically he looked a little thin!), but was nothing standout, as was Stellan Skarsgard in his portrayal as the antagonist – I expected more from him in this role. 

The director, David Fincher, was able to capture the paralyzing cold that these characters suffered in Sweden’s winter, and I was impressed with how well he delivered the incredible detail from the story. In the beginning of the book, there is a page showing the family tree (which I referenced often while reading!) but the movie omitted just enough details so as to not overly confuse the audience. Fast cuts from scene to scene were a wise choice – I don’t know how else they could have presented so much information in so little time…well…2 hours and 38 minutes.

There are numerous disturbing scenes in the book, and Fincher handled these delicate issues cautiously. This movie contains one of the most difficult scenes I’ve ever watched in a film. It involves Salander and her guardian, who was not cast as I pictured him from the description in the book, but still a pig, nonetheless. Christopher Plummer (who I’ll always remember as Captain Von Trapp!) was lovely as the CEO who hires Blomkvist, and had a heartbreaking scene towards the end of the film - I won’t reveal this and spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet! 

If you’re ready for a roller coaster, check out "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." You’ll be rooting for Salander the moment she slides onscreen. 

Trailer via Fandango

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