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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a rather large fan following and
for good reason. The 2009 Swedish film is incredibly solid and
well-acted with just the right amount of wrong. The two sequels that
followed had their own uphill battles (switching directors, lower
budget, etc) and weren't necessarily bad, but just failed to capture
that raw emotional tenacity the original film offered. When news of a
remake began making the usual rounds, there was a fairly large uproar
amongst the internet community (isn't there always?), especially when
it was announced Noomi Rapace wouldn't be returning as Lisbeth
Salander. Most American remakes aren't directed by David Fincher though
and while it isn't vastly different in comparison to its Swedish
counterpart, Fincher has at least improved upon what was already a
fantastic piece of cinema.
The opening of the film was a bit unexpected. "The Immigrant Song"
cover by Trent Reznor and Karen O plays over these really fluid visuals
that are a bit hard to describe. Imagine the T-1000 from Terminator 2
made of motor oil or tar instead of metal and you have a pretty good
idea of what to expect. It was just very different from other film
credits from the rest of the year while also being very sleek, very
stylish, and very David Fincher.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is extremely dialogue driven, so be
prepared for a lot of talking. It feels very similar to Zodiac in that
sense yet more captivating. Even though I had seen the original film
and knew most of the major plot points, I still found myself getting
sucked into the story. Even if you hate this version of the film and
your loyalty remains firmly with the Swedish film, you can probably at
least agree that Fincher's version is visually the better of the two.
The cinematography is just brilliant. You've gotten teases in the
trailers, but the coldest winter in 20 years for Sweden looks so bloody
fantastic on screen; the amazing scenery, those long drives through the
snow, feeling like you're on the back of Lisbeth's motorcycle as she
roars through a tunnel, and the inner shot of a plastic bag among many
other things. The film is just a joy to look at from beginning to end.
The score is also just as brilliant as the one for The Social Network,
if not slightly better. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross seem to explore
territory they didn't get to explore on The Social Network score. This
one seems to feature more out of tune instruments, which is an
interesting touch. The score hints at rising tension throughout the
film always making you feel like there's always something else to the
story lurking around the corner waiting for the right moment to strike.
It's haunting, unnerving, and just spectacular overall.
Noomi Rapace was an exceptional Lisbeth Salander and with that said so
is Rooney Mara. Just the amount of devotion she put into the role with
the piercings being genuine, bleaching her eyebrows, cutting her hair,
learning how to ride a motorcycle, using a very convincing Swedish
accent, coming off as being just as messed up as her appearance lets
on, and being completely nude is an incredible accomplishment. It's not
out of the question to believe that a role this physical could get her
nominated for best actress at the Academy Awards. The entire cast just
seems like they fit their roles a bit better than they did in the
Swedish film. This is one of the only performances of Daniel Craig's I
can actually say I enjoyed while Stellan Skarsgård is just wonderfully
demented. Then there's Yorick van Wageningen that's just downright
despicable as Nils Bjurman. It doesn't seem like it's something as
simple as "oh, you're showing favoritism towards a remake because it's
in English now." That isn't the case at all. Fincher's attention to
detail to the source material is practically Kubrick-like. It shows in
every frame of the film.
Fincher's version also seems to feature a lot more of Mikael Blomkvist
and Lisbeth Salander being together. They have more sex and they're
featured together more on-screen in comparison to the Swedish version.
It was a nice addition that made the slightly altered ending a lot more
impactful. The whistling doors in Martin's house were also amazing. I
can't recall if that was in the Swedish version or not, but it brought
a smile to my face with how something so small meant so much.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is obviously not going to be for
everybody. It relies on extremely long discussions to drive most of the
two and a half hour duration of the film. In between though, it becomes
difficult to watch mostly with how Nils Bjurman handles giving Lisbeth
more money and her response. Lisbeth's response will more than likely
have you tiptoeing out of the theater as delicately as possible since
you'll still be feeling it. With a phenomenal cast, incredibly rich
cinematography, a brilliant score, and Rooney Mara's best performance
to date, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not only an improvement
over the original but easily one of the best films of the year.
Tags for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Full Movie
, Daniel Craig
, Rooney Mara
, Stellan Skarsgård
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