The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo review

David Fincher
Daniel Craig
Rooney Mara
Christopher Plummer
Stellan Skarsgard
Rated: R

James Bond was able to relax a little, working on a case without a super villain and all.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the American adaption of a popular book series. The film follows the character Mikael (Craig), a disgraced journalist who was accused and found guilty of writing false accusations against a wealthy CEO type. Because his investigative reporting skills are not in high demand in the news business, he is then hired by an old rich man who would like Mikael to research and find new evidence on a cold case that holds many secrets for the wealthy family.

Meanwhile, a poor yet brilliant woman named Lisbeth (Mara) who helped the CEO with his case against Mikael eventually starts to help Mikael on the case. Together the two begin to find clues and more and more mysteries begin to unravel about what really happened behind the scenes with the wealthy family.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a film that holds absolutely no punches in its brutality and creates a very bleak world. What works so well is that it uses this to create a very dark atmosphere for the entire movie which enhances the film quite a bit especially as it gets closer and closer towards the end.

The run time reaches to around two hours and forty minutes however the length of the film was never felt for me. The story was set up to allow character development as well as chemistry with our two protagonists. It’s also a fantastic mystery set up with twists and turns that will keep you guessing

Fincher is fantastic at setting up suspense and does it well in this movie. The dark, gritty atmosphere that the film is surrounded in never gives the opportunity for the characters to drop their guard which works the same way with the audience. It’s what makes the movie compelling, the mystery combined with suspense allows for a very engaging experience.

I unfortunately did not get the chance to see the foreign adaptions with the same titles, so I can’t compare performances, however just on their own, they were really good. Rooney Mara is attention grabbing as Lisabeth, portraying the girl as a very memorable, dark character. She works extremely well with Daniel Craig too. Craig was great in the film too, playing the character in a perfect contrast to Lisabeth. The relationship is very multi-layered and every bit of it works, especially the camaraderie between the two working on the case together.

The minor characters were all great as well. Every one did their part and I never groaned when a certain character would come back on screen. The villain of the film was also well portrayed, giving quite a chilling persona after the big reveal.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the best films of 2011 and the best murder mystery movie in I don’t know how long. The protagonists are great to watch and I am really glad that the story is a part of a series because I would like to revisit this universe again. Really high 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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