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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

A 2011 movie directed by David Fincher.

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

  • Dec 22, 2011
It has been tough to escape the Millennium trilogy for the past three years. Author Stieg Larsson left his trilogy unpublished, it wasn’t until after his death that the books hit the shelves and became a worldwide phenomenon. It then became a movie made in Sweden which did not shine away from the darker parts of the story with European audiences unafraid to deal with such issues. When trying to make an American version of the film the studios called on none other than David Fincher who previously worked on Se7en and Zodiac. With an expertise in sadistic storytelling Fincher gives his telling ofThe Girl With The Dragon Tattoo an American touch.

In case you were unaware that David Fincher was directing the movie, the opening sequence should give it away. Two bodies cased in oil and covered in flame become one with Trent Rezner’s cover of "The Immigrant Song", the story hasn’t even started yet and his style comes screaming at you already. The concept behind this project plays perfectly into what Fincher is known for and is truly a perfect pairing. While there is little he can add to the overall story in fear of alienating fans, his biggest addition to the film is a glossy touch. For fans of the book and the Swedish movie, available on Netflix streaming, some of you may be surprised what he kept in the movie if you were anything like me who believed the American version was going to be softer. Fincher is still able to soften up the material through with some deadpan delivery from his leading lady. It is tough to tell whether some of the laughs were intended or accidental considering what’s going on.

Past the opening sequence, and for those of you unaware the movie opens on Mikael Blomkvist, played by Daniel Craig, leaving the courtroom having just been convicted of libel after going after the head of a major corporation. He probably should not have gone to print with material from one anonymous source. Either way with free time after stepping down from his magazine he accepts a job to investigate a 40-year-old murder of a young girl. While this is going on a brash young female rolls into the parking lot on her motorcycle, hair dyed black and still in a mohawk once she removes the helmet. Lisbeth Salander played by Rooney Mara has just completed her own investigation through different means, which some may call illegal, but now finds herself in trouble in her personal life. With the two different characters come the two completely different style of story, until the midway point where their paths cross and Fincher combines the tones into the one main arc. They almost seem as they could be two different movies, once they converge on each other Fincher allows the two to blend together till they are on the same beat.

Fincher takes his time before our two leads meet. Mikael Blomkvist’s story seems pretty straightforward, and he allows Craig to insert his confidence into the role, a confidence not seen in the original. The other half of the story dwells on the darker side. The character starts off visually assaulting, she seems so detached and soft spoken, isolated from the world. It isn’t till we see her investigative prowess where she shows off her skills and fortitude that the audience starts rooting for her. Larsson delves deep into the past and shows what made Lisbeth this way, and continues to do so throughout the story. Noomi Rapace injected herself into Lisbeth, succumbing to the psychosis of the character and entrenching herself in the darkness. Mara allows some light to shine through; her depiction of the character has a confidence to her as well. Not like Craig, who always has a swagger about him, Mara shows her confidence by playing Lisbeth as comfortable in her own skin. Mara doesn’t possess the same dark strength as the Swedish version. No doubt this is the studio telling her to play the psychosis down fearing they may alienate the audience. That darkness is what made Rapace’s portrayal of the character so mesmerizing in the original trilogy and will definitely be seen as lacking by fans of the material.

To not know about this story before this movie comes out probably means you avoided beaches, any major mode of transportation, or friends who enjoy holding it over your head that they actually read in their spare time. For some this may be the third time in the past three years to see a different take on one story. The source material is so strong that there is little doubt that this movie won’t be a success. To attach big names like David Fincher and Daniel Craig to the project only injects more confidence into the film. A confidence that definitely lacked in the Swedish movie, but don’t mistake that as positive. You don’t necessarily want a superhero or a glossy touch when dealing with gruesome murder. Mikael Nyqvist played the lead more straight on with little nuance to the role, but would a reporter really know how to handle torture as well as a James Bond would?

It is tough to not compare the book or the first movie to this new one considering how quickly all three were released. This movie stands well on its own and does a loyal retelling of the book through most of the movie. And short of adding a little gloss to the movie and taking away subtitles the shots aren’t all that different from the Swedish version. There is a lot to like about this movie, but that has more to do with the story than any changes that took place in this version. While it may not have needed a glossy touch, or a retelling as the original movie was done so well. If this is what it takes to get more people to see this story than they put together quite a team to execute with a gripping finished product. B+

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December 22, 2011
Thorough and well-detailed review! Loved your comments in your first two paragraphs. Fincher did seem to enjoy marking this movie as his own...
More The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... reviews
review by . December 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
David Fincher's Stylish, Dark, Sexier
When I first heard of the American remake of the Swedish film released in 2009 based on the internationally acclaimed novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (original title “The Man Who Hate Women”), I have to admit I wasn’t too excited; that is until I learned that director David Fincher would be at its helm. Fincher is a director whose works I liked from “Se7en”, “Fight Club” and even “The Zodiac”. The film is more of a re-interpretation …
review by . March 01, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Nazis, Rape, Torture and Happy Meals.
I'm finally tackling it.      When I got the invite to come to this site almost 4 years ago, there was one topic that dominated my emails about updates on Lunch, and that was this subject:  I don't remember exactly if it was the Swedish films that people were talking about or if it was the novels published after the Author's death but one this was certain:  Whatever this movie or book was about, with a name that could be a James Bond title for a movie: this …
review by . August 27, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Revenge is better when served cold.
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," was one of the most suspenseful novels that I've had the pleasure of reading.      I had also seen the original movie with subtitles and enjoyed that also.      With the 2011 film, directed by David Fincher, I have, once again, been greatly entertained.      The story is based on a Swedish journalist, Mikael Blomkvist suffering a legal defeat on a case where he is accused of slander.   …
review by . December 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Very Dark, Brutal, and Gripping Film.
Following the very successful adaptation of Stieg Larssons millennium trilogy into three very successful Swedish language films, it came as no surprise when Hollywood announced that it would be making an English-language version of the series. Director David Fincher was announced to craft the first book in the series, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The new version follows very close to the original material with one fairly big exception which I will detail later in the review. Daniel Craig stars …
review by . December 25, 2011
Twas the Night Before Christmas...And Lisbeth Salander Was Up to No Good...
It's only fitting that I'm writing this review on a MacBook Pro, the preferred computer of both Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander.  And why not?  They are great computers.  But this review is not (for the first time in a long time) about an Apple product.  No, it is about what could possibly be my new favorite film that happens to be the film adaptation of my favorite (and millions of other people around the world) book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Since …
review by . September 28, 2012
A disgraced financial journalist, and a young antisocial computer hacker join forces to solve the 40 year old mystery of a teenage girl's disappearance. As they do so, they get drawn into serious crime and corruption, deadly family secrets, and a string of unsolved murders of young women spanning fifty years, which puts their own lives at unbelievable risk. Will they solve the mystery before they become history?    When I saw the original movie series about two years ago, I was …
review by . July 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****    By now, we all know the story. Corrupt Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) - having just lost a libel case against the billionaire Hans-Erik Wennerstrom - accepts a job given to him by the affluent Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to re-open and solve a 40-year old case involving the old man's niece Harriet, who went missing all those years ago at an annual family gathering and as of now is still considered murdered, although there doesn't …
review by . December 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Watching the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was actively engaged with its dual storylines, but I also found myself pondering which of the two was the more important. Now that David Fincher has made an English-language remake, I find myself pondering what went wrong. Here is a mystery thriller so cold, so distant, and so lacking in energy that it feels neither mysterious nor thrilling. It follows the plot of the original …
Quick Tip by . September 26, 2012
Troubled but brilliant security firm agent works with a writer hired by a Swedish tycoon to solve a 40 year old mystery, the writer who she had just worked to discredit in the media only days before. Very heady and dramatic with high drama and emotion.
review by . December 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Dragon Tattoo Take 2
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO Written by Steve Zaillian Directed by David Fincher Starring Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard   Armansky: I’m concerned you won’t like her. She’s different. Frode: In what way? Armansky: In every way.   I always say that film criticism is an inherently subjective practice and reviewing David Fincher’s remake of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the perfect example to prove this. It has …
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A murder mystery rife with suspense, scandal, sexual abuse, and some supremely intriguing characters,The Girl with the Dragon Tattoois an excellently crafted film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's equally fascinating book of the same name. Larsson's book was also the basis of a 2009 Swedish film (also with the same title), and while the Swedish film was good, this American version is far superior, thanks to fantastic cinematography and livelier pacing that results in a constant, electric tension that drives every second of the movie. The breathtaking footage of a snowy, remote island in Sweden thoroughly exudes bitter cold, and the attention to the smallest details, like the whistling of the wind through a door left ajar, makes the hairs on the back of viewers' necks absolutely prickle. Like the book, the film is long (158 minutes), there's an abundance of dialogue that is never awkward and always efficient, and there are plenty of false endings. The suspense and the intricacy of the mystery are stellar, and even viewers who know the story well will find themselves sucked into the riddle being investigated by journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig). The casting is great, as are the performances of all the key actors, but by far the best thing about this film is Rooney Mara, who is utterly believable as the incredibly strong, extremely disturbed Lisbeth Salander, Blomkvist's unlikely assistant. Mara's performance is chillingly real and completely ...
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Director: David Fincher
Release Date: December 20, 2011
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Mar. 20, 2012
Runtime: 158 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
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