Thursday, December 29, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Other Half and I saw David Fincher's follow-up to his Oscar-winning The Social Network, the English-language film adaptation of the blockbuster thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The books written by Swede Stieg Larsson have sold over 65 million, with this first entry in the Millenium trilogy having individually sold over 30 million copies itself.

Fincher's movie stars Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomqvist, the intrepid, independent reporter and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous Girl in the title and hacker/social misfit extraordinaire.

The script Fincher used to film this movie was written by acclaimed screenwriter Steve Zaillian (who won the Oscar for Schindler's List). The story follows the plot of the book quite closely, which is an excellent decision because the book is excellent (surely 30 million people can't be wrong!)

The movie is close to three hours long but never seems slow. There is so much story to pack into the running time. There are two main threads of the tale: the first, primary one involves the central mystery: a classic locked room mystery involving the disappearance of a 16-yer old girl 40-years ago. The second one involves learning about Lisbeth's background as she negotiates a horrible situation stemming from being an adult who is also a ward of the state and has  a court-appointed guardian.

Eventually the two threads intersect and the two (Lisbeth and Mikael) work together to solve the mystery. While they are trying to solve that mystery they stumble upon  a much larger, disturbing pattern of murders of young women. It seems like they must be hunting a misogynistic serial killer and it is this feature of the book which explains why it's original Swedish title translates to "Men Who Hate Women." The two, working together, do eventually solve both the mystery of the original disappearance they intended to solve as well as the one involving the serial killer that they discovered inadvertently.

The most important development involves the evolution of Lisbeth Salander. It is following her story which makes the audience interested in the sequels, despite the well-executed (and slightly modified) conclusion to the first installment.

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Director: David Fincher.
Running Time: 2 hours, 38 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for brutal violent content including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language.
Release Date: December 21, 2011.
Viewing Date: December 23, 2011.

Plot: A.
Acting: A.
Visuals: B+.
Impact: B-.

Overall Grade: (3.5/4.0).

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