Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Directed by David Fincher, MGM Studios, 2011.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson and Christopher Plummer.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery.

Question: Do you have a tattoo? I do not; however, I am seriously considering getting one now. Yes, I just got back from watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I wasn't planning on seeing this movie because I read a review recently that spoiled it for me. The review did not tell the whole plot but it did tell a significant part that immediately turned me off. However, I am on a vacation, of sorts, and have plenty of time to kill. And this was the first movie showing of the day. Well, let me say I am glad I am on "vacation" because I really liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

It started off with an odd opening. I couldn't tell if it wanted to mimic the opening to a James Bond film at first or if some film artist just wanted to show off their mad skills with oil-laden bodies set to Led Zepplin's 'Immigrant Song'.  Personally I wouldn't have chosen that song, even though I now know why it was selected. First, it reminded me of Jack Black singing the song in The School of Rock. Second, the opening, or let's say music video because that is what it felt like, looked more like something that Tool would have created. Okay, enough of that.

Since the story is a mystery I really don't want to divulge any information that could ruin it for you. The movie is based on the widely successful Stieg Larrson's trilogy, which I have not read, nor did I view the Swedish movies which were made a few years back. I can mention how great a character Lisbeth Salander was and what a unique additive to a relatively standard murder mystery tale, but I'll talk more about that later.

The movie was slower than I thought it would be, not that I minded that - at all. The storytelling really had a way of keeping my interest. Plus, it had Daniel Craig in it for 90% of the time. Speaking of Daniel Craig, he plays a journalist who is hired to research a family's history to reveal what may have happened to a specific family member many years prior. Sounds like a typical mystery but this one is set in an idyllic Swedish backdrop where I couldn't take my eyes off all the fantastic Swedish interior design and landscapes. Sidetracked - sorry. Well, what made this tale so fascinating were the characters which I mentioned above already. The background was just a bonus.

Lisbeth Salander, played by Ronney Mara, is a young investigator with her own unique techniques, who ends up working as an assistant to the journalist to help solve the mystery. However, for part of the beginning of the tale you are introduced to her and the life she endures. Not an easy one, I might say, but she portrays a female heroine that is not a typical personification of many lead female roles. She's young, petite, damaged, quiet but brave and smart as a whip. In fact, I think she has more intelligence and bravery in her little pinkie than all than the whole Swedish Army combined. She doesn't rely on anyone; she takes whatever happens to her and focuses on salvation rather than staying a victim or waiting to be rescued; and she is a good friend when it really counts. I can't wait to see the other two films because I want to see what Lisbeth will do in those.

I will give a little hint that there is one really harsh scene in this film that may be too hard for some to watch. There was a very disconcerting and despicable person in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and for those of you with tender demeanors you might want to skip this film (or at least the scene). However, I will say if you can get through the scene there is another, although tough as well, that will show that pixie-sized women can kick some serious butt and prove that karma really is a HUGE bitch. Thank god!

All-in-all The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a fantastic film that kept me focused tightly on the story and enjoyed the introduction of Lisbeth Salander. I will say it again, I can't wait to see more of her and where her path takes her. Rarely does a specific character do that for me but this one did.

My favorite thing: The petite girls can take care of themselves!

My least favorite thing: Yes, the one scene I mentioned above. It was hard to watch.

Rating: R
Length:158 minutes

Rating: 8 out of 10

 Click on film posters below to watch American version instantly:

Click on film poster below to watch Original version instantly:

The Book Trilogy:


Deray said...

That scene is even harder to read in the book. I cried. I watched the American version of this movie first and then I went and watched the Swedish version. I liked the American better, Rooney Mara is perfect, just a perfect little Lisbeth Salander. Good review ;-)

Tired of Previews said...

Thanks Deray, I couldn't imagine reading that scene - not sure I could but I do want to read the books now just so I can learn more about Lisbeth. :-)