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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

A 2011 movie directed by David Fincher.

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Better than expected

  • Sep 28, 2012
  • by
Rating:
+5
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 awestruck by mostly the awesome acting of Noomi rapace, and the movie's visual style, and it's inherent raunchiness, which is more common in stylish European thrillers than slick Hollywood movies. When I heard there would be an English version, I thought this would be a hard act to follow, and without Noomi Rapace as the female lead would not be the same, because she was so much an integral element of the original movies success.

In the meantime I listened to the audiobook version featuring Simon Vance, which I also found quite enjoyable. He does all the voices including Lisbeth with a slight Swedish accent that veers toward cockney. The story is much more detailed with many elements glossed over or left out of the original movie.

So, when I heard it was about to be released, and saw the trailer, and understood the pedigree behind this movie with David Fincher directing, and Daniel Craig as Blomquist, I made a point of going to the evening show before its official opening today.

Inevitably, one cannot help but compare with the previous experience. Definitely, the fact that this is in English is the greatest justification for the remake, so for many people who are distracted by subtitles this will automatically be a better experience.

Steven Zaillian, the screenwriter, previously won an Oscar for writing Schindlers List. From a storytelling point of view, it stays close to the original story, with much more detail, in that respect exceeding the original. In other respects too it exceeds the original. I particularly liked for example the soundtrack with its darker gothic metal tones by Trent Reznor, and the opening sequence with somewhat James Bond style imagery although darker, and I loved the storytelling.

This movie completes the full arc of the story, whereas I felt unclear in the original about the full circle story against Wennerstrom. This movie introduces the cat, and Cecilia Vanger as a character. We get to meet some of the characters we don't meet in the original.

David Fincher goes to great lengths not to have it be a remake, having each scene be somewhat different, so in only one scene did I have slight deja vu, which I appreciated. This movie is also raunchier, you'll know what I mean when you see it and focuses more on the relationship between Blomquist and Salander. It also has occasional humor. The scene where Michael is hunted shocked me in my seat, and there are several shocking scenes in the movie, including the crime against Lisabeth by her guardian. This is a harrowing scene as is the basement scene, although I felt that particular one was more harrowing in the original. In another movie, Zodiac, Fincher delivers one of the most suspenseful basement scenes ever when an investigative journalist is in the house of the suspected Zodiac killer.

Perhaps the single best thing about this version is that it captures the intention of the original author. Apparently, when Stieg Larson was a teenager he witnessed a gang rape of a teenage girl, and did not intervene to stop it. He was always troubled by this, second guessing his behavior, and worked as an independent investigative journalist, and this was partly his motivation for writing the Millenium Trilogy series which has now reportedly sold over 60 million copies, and the great visual art of 4 movies.

In fact, he gave the character Lisbeth the same first name as the original victim, so when Blomquist proposes to Lisbeth that she help him find a killer of women, one senses that Larson would be very pleased about this.

I liked also seeing Robin Wright as Blomquists partner, and while I still give the original movie the cool points for style and the visuals, I think many people will without my preconceptions warm to Rooney Mara who does give a great performance, in her unique way as this antisocial yet extremely resourceful and intelligent computer hacker.

I recommend it whether or not you have seen the original series. I also recommend you do check out the original series. If they do complete the rest of the trilogy, there will be opportunities in those movies to vastly outshine the originals, certainly if they include more detail from the books as they do here.

I think you will love it, and I hope this review was helpful.

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September 30, 2012
Hi; I enjoyed your review. I recently read and reviewed the movie and we both feel the same. That's a good tip about getting the audio book. Now that I've read the book and seen the movie I think that listening to the words would be a perfect addition. Mike Draper
 
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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 . 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 …
review by . January 08, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
If there were an award for most unsettling film of 2011 or best use of black eye-liner, David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would be a shoe-in. That’s not to say it isn’t a good movie, in fact it’s brilliant. It’s gorgeously shot, beautifully paced, has a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Rooney Mara and strings you along for one of the best mysteries I’ve ever tagged along for. That being said, it’s still one of the darkest, most mature films …
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Larry Power ()
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Member Since: May 29, 2010
Last Login: Sep 10, 2013 07:54 PM UTC
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Wiki

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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Details

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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