The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) Review: A Film For Grown-Ups

The story plays out the same as the 2005 version, with a few minor tweaks, such as the inclusion of a cuddly wuddly cat to woo North American audiences. (Enjoy it while it lasts.) It’s your standard mystery-thriller affair, which consists of 60% talking, and 20% mulling over photographs and documents in dark rooms. The rest thankfully consists of characterization. Keep in mind that as the film runs for a long two-and-a-half hours, the flat expanse that is the second act might have a sleep-inducing effect on some. It jolts back into action every now and then, but get yourself ready to open up your ears and play connect the dots.

However, if you happen to be a fan of the original, then you can rest easy, knowing that your story and plot is relatively untouched, except now it’s painted by the aesthetically sagacious hand of David Fincher. And let me tell you bro, this guy can direct a movie like nobody’s business. As far as accentuated storytelling goes, Fincher hits all the right shades and tones to complement this piece. Some might argue that a tale like this doesn’t need such a spotless presentation, but I like things that look pretty, so I will not complain.

But the composition and framing of the shots is only secondary to what’s plaguing the minds of anyone who’s seen the original. The true question is whether Rooney Mara manages to pull off the character of Lisbeth Salander or not.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)  picture
Indeed she does, my friend. Indeed.

The main selling point to the entire Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy is, surprise-surprise, the girl with the dragon tattoo. She’s not a particularly likeable character, as in you wouldn’t really want to go bowling with her or whatever, but is she interesting? You bet your boots, brah. Though not as biting or incisive as Noomi Rapace’s portrayal, hers still manages to fit the character. She’s full of quips, lacks a certain concern for social protocol, and can probably break into your computer while trapped in a cave… with a box of scraps. She carries the movie through the soggy middle, and is pretty much the defining factor in whether or not you’ll even bother with a film like this.

I mean, if you think about it, Mikael isn’t exactly very interesting as a character, even with the help of Daniel Craig’s steely charisma. He’s just a regular Joe who wound up a little shafted, is all — and his coupling with Slander is what makes the Dragon Tattoo worth the price of admission.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) picture
It’s so exciting that I can barely stand it. 

Granted, it would have been more interesting to see the two characters play off one another a little bit more, like in the original. They kind of get along a little too quick, in this case. Admittedly, if you haven’t seen the Swedish adaptation, then it won’t be a problem. Even though I just told you about it a second ago. Sorry about that.

The Verdict: [rating:4]

Despite the fact that you could just go out and buy the original on Blu-ray right now if you wanted to, David Fincher’s adaptation manages to stand on its own. It’s sleek, it’s engaging, and it pulls no punches during scenes where you’d expect a more palatable substitute. If mysteries aren’t your thing, then you might find it a bit talky — but who knows? Maybe the sheer intrigue brought forth from the titular main character will be enough to hold your attention. For those who find the holidays a little more than stifling, it just might be a deal sealer.

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