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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

A 2011 movie directed by David Fincher.

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A charismatic and harsh sample of great journalism, character study, and thrilling evolution.

  • Jan 3, 2012

Fincher's dark and mute direction in his retake of Stieg Larssen's trilogy-novel was somehow expected but I never thought it will turn out to be so haunting and fresh. Spectacular technical detail, from beginning to the very end. A charismatic and harsh sample of great journalism, character study, and thrilling evolution. A variety of dramatic colors and a cold and poisonous atmosphere that made this movie memorable.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo follows the bi-linear and eventually linear story of our two protagonists. The first is the meticulous and devoted journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig). A man of integrity and compassion towards justice and redemption. A troubled husband but a loving father, distant because of his job but still giving his best to his daughter. The second is the hero of our story Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). A warrior with a fierce attitude towards the hypocrite society living her life in almost complete isolation. She has the mind of a genius and loves to use it only in honest conditions. We get a lot of information about her personal issues and frustration so that we could understand better where this girl comes from. A girl that gets physically and mentally abused by her state tutor. A girl from the home of nowhere aiming towards someplace we still have later to find out.

The story starts with Mikael Blomkvist being publicly embarrassed for the mistakes he made in some important national journalistic investigation. Having nowhere to go he's forced but also interested to work for a powerful business man Henrik Vagner (Christopher Plummer) which assures him that once his task will be completed he'll get "the head" of the man who defeated him publicly. Before hiring him, Henrik had to know more about Mikael's past and present so he hired Lisbeth to basically document his whole life. The task for Mikael would be to find out the truth about the disappearance or death of a close relative of Henrik, Harriet. Eventually, Lisbeth and Mikael will join forces to discover the unknown. This ride through the history of Vagner's family, will be filled with thrills and suspense. Clues will pop here and there and a very naturalistic and gripping roller-coaster of pieces of investigation will be displayed on screen. The result will be not as shocking as people may think because the writing is a little bit linear but it will be breathtakingly captivating making you want from more of these two wonderful characters. I don't even need to break the story because it's so dense I'll need hours so I'll just state another few reasons of why this movie sent me shivers down my spine.

The chemistry is wonderful between Craig and Mara, the chosen actors to play the several secondary characters are not at all boring to watch. There's something interesting about each and every single person in this film no matter how important or not they are for the story. Christopher Plummer (Henrik Vagner), Stellan Skarsgard (Martin Vanger), Steven Berkoff (Frode), Robin Wright (Erika Berger), Donald Sumpter (Detective Morell), Joely Richardson (Anita Vagner) or Yorick van Wageningen (Bjurman) are just few names of the all-star collection. The performances are natural and scream for honesty but the most challenging would be Rooney Mara's Lisbeth. Being a big fan of Noomi Rapace's portrayal of Lis I was already willingly under a veil of doubt before seeing the film. Now that I've seen it I can honestly say that her performance is impressive. She did not only nailed the swedish accent but she also understood Lisbeth character. As far as comparing her performance to Noomi's... that would be pretty impossible since they are so different thanks to the given characters to work with. Fincher approached a closer-to-the-novel description of Lisbeth while Noomi's was more extravagant and eye-catchy. In the end, there's a lot of differences in writing more than acting.

But if there's one thing that you could easily compare with the swedish version then that would be the direction. Fincher's film is absolutely better. Visually stunning. A clear and crisp cinematography even when dealing with so much natural lightning and with so many dark passages. The soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross has a dreamy-life quality that haunts you from the start. It incorporates not only the passion of the characters but also the thrilling identity of the film encouraging a scary mature atmosphere without appealing to cracks, screeches, and powerful drums. The direction is impeccable and there are so many things that I love about the visual style of this film. Let's not forget about the Bondesque intro of the movie which was endearing and melancholic.

The result of the story doesn't really matter after watching such a directorial accomplishment. The writing is splendid, the details are not forgotten but inserted with wisdom, the performances are in balance and in contrast with each other, and the technical aspect is clean and covers the film in a shield of realism. Fincher made a different version of a film that I already loved but thanks to the big difference in direction I have to say that this is one of my top movies in 2011. A bliss to watch for me as a journalist student and obvious "movieholic". Don't stay home and don't think you can miss this because it's a must-see spectacle.

Storyline/Dialogue: 9
Acting: 9
Technical Execution: 9.3
Replay Value: 9
Overall: 9.0

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January 03, 2012
excellent write up. I liked this movie quite a bit, but I prefer my thrillers dark, rough and edgy; this was more visually alluring and arguably better directed, but I prefer the Swedish version a bit more. I feel that some of its style really didn't fit the material, (not that it isn't good) just different. It is a good movie, but I like Lisbeth as more enigmatic and serious, Mara did an awesome job, but Rapace is Salander for me. I hope Fincher does adapt the other two books. Thanks for the post!
More The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... reviews
review by . December 21, 2011
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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
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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
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"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
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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
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***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
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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
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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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