Over the past couple of years The Millennium trilogy have captivated audiences all over. When it was announced that an American Film version was being made many questioned the reasoning being that a Swedish version already existed. Even with the announcement that it is David Fincher helming the production didn’t stop the doubts from still being raised. Those fears should be quelled by the stunning piece of filmmaking.
This review is written from the perspective of not reading the novel or seeing the Swedish film beforehand. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is about two characters, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. Mikael just lost a libel case against billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik WennerstrÃ¶m and has to pay over $600,000. Soon after he is contacted by Henrik Vanger to investigate the murder of his niece Harriet. Henrik chose Mikael by doing an in depth background check on him using Lisbeth. Henrik offers Mikael a large cash reward and evidence against WennerstrÃ¶m for his help. After finding out that Lisbeth hacked his computer in her background check he persuades her to help him in the investigation.
David Fincher has made a film that is totally captivating from opening frame to credit roll. This film moves and flows that you won’t notice the 158-minute runtime while watching. Fincher has total command of each scene here. Fincher and his cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth puts things on the screen that are beautiful, stark, cold gray images that feel like moving winter Vermeer paintings.
Another stand out that holds the film together is the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. This score more so than the last film they worked together on, The Social Network feels like a new Nine Inch Nails album that is huge and swelling while at time quiet and moving. It’s hard to remember this film without thinking of the score blaring through it.
Daniel Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara plays Lisbeth Salander. Craig acting is good here. He’s believable as this investigative reporter who knows he’s always a little bit over his head. He’s not a super cool guy in this all the time like we’ve gotten used to in either Bond films or other movies he’s starred in. Rooney Mara thought totally steals the show as Lisbeth. From her perfect look, her facial expressions and teakettle boiling anger in her eyes Mara really brought her A-game here. Mara really carries the film at a certain point as Lisbeth has the greater journey she really shows this arc in the character.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo really is a stand out film of 2011. It’s one of the strongest Dramas you can see this season. It isn’t for the faint of heart though; there are some really tough scenes and things in this film. Overall it’s worth a little uncomfortable material to see this well made interpretation of this story. Hopefully when Academy Awards nominations come around they do well by this film.
Final Grade is A
Originally published on Reel Film News