Review: ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’Written by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you punish a filmmaker for a gruesome and, at times, hard-to-watch story that’s faithfully based on its source material?
At times, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is unwatchable. Not because it’s horribly made but because director David Fincher has crafted a movie that depicts violence with bone-chilling clarity.
His source material, the first in a series of three Swedish books by Stieg Larsson, follows the intertwining tales of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and a different kind of investigator, the title character.
The journalist, played by Daniel Craig (known for playing James Bond), loses a libel case against billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. He is then hired by the retired CEO of Vanger Corporation, the largest family-owned company in Sweden, to solve a mystery that has haunted the family for decades.
The girl with the dragon tattoo, named Lisbeth Salander and strongly played by Rooney Mara, is described by her handler as “the best investigator, different in every way.”
Blomkvist and Salander do not cross paths initially, but when they meet there is an odd chemistry at work while the two delve deeper into the mystery.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” has an ironically Bond-esque opening, with floating liquid molding and shifting into various symbolic objects, set to rockish music.
The violence is not gratuitous. In fact, it seems somewhat muted. Even so, audiences will find themselves grasping at their armrests and turning their heads. These handful of scenes are not for the faint of heart.
The 158-minute running time is surprisingly unnoticeable as the thrilling plot takes viewers on an adventure. The last parts of the movie shine because the violence is all but over and the audience can enjoy the plot twists unfolding.
Steven Zaillian, Oscar-winning screenwriter for “Schindler’s List,” penned this adaptation. The score is by the Oscar-winning team from “The Social Network,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, although the music does not seem to be quite as driving or in the forefront as it was in that film.
Comparing this film to Fincher’s much-heralded “Social Network” last year, one can find a louder and more violent approach taken for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Granted, the source material is very different. But what a compelling thriller to watch.
5 stars out of 5
Rated R for brutal violent content including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity and language.
Toledo Free Press Lead Designer James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com.