The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

dragon tattoo

Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard
Directed by David Fincher
Rating: B

When the Millennium trilogy hit bookstores, the author Stieg Larsson became a hit, only he was not alive to see it. Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004, leaving an unfinished fourth novel behind. However the trilogy has done profitably, according to his website. The series has sold over twenty million copies and Larsson was the second bestselling author in 2008.

In 2009, director Niels Arden Oplev first came out with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in Sweden. Now two years later, American director David Fincher has successfully produced an “American” version with better known actors to play main characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo takes place in Sweden, where Mikael Blomkvist has been deemed “guilty” for libel against Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. The best thing for Blomkvist to do would be to go under the radar, but he doesn’t. Henrik Vanger has an interesting task for Blomkvist: to find out what exactly happened to his granddaughter Harriet and which one of his family members killed her. Seen as a waste of time in Blomkvist’s eyes as the mystery occurred forty years ago, Blomkvist takes the job as Vanger promises to give him what he wants: a secret to take Wennerstrom down.

Anyone who has read the book could only imagine how difficult a task it would be to get into character with Lisbeth Salander. White-as-a-sheet, piercings everywhere, no respect for anyone, Lisbeth is her own boss. Rooney Mara, who takes on this role, does an excellent and convincing job. Mara immerses herself in the role; actually getting the piercings Lisbeth has in eyebrows and private parts. She loses a little bit of weight to look like the skeletal Listbeth and cuts off most of her locks. Mara’s acting deserves to win an Oscar.

Daniel Craig steals most of the movie as the leading male character, Mikael Blomkvist. While Craig plays a reasonable role, the one factor that could not fully convince me of his character is his accent. While yes, viewers in English-speaking countries are watching it in the natural language, Blomkvist is supposed to be Swedish. Craig speaks with his natural English accent, not Swedish. Most of the characters convince you of their role because they make an effort to have some sort of accent.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo does have some very explicit scenes which could make some viewers uncomfortable. While the movie is quite lengthy, almost three hours, the pace is fast enough to keep viewers from checking for the time. The plot really pulls the audience in so that viewers are not yawning too many times. Like many films based off of novels, this particular film strays from the path a bit. Overall, David Fincher did include scenes not shown in the Swedish version which makes this up-to-date film more appealing.

Overall, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is rated “R” for a reason but that should not keep adults from watching it. It is an exciting, fast paced thriller worth the watch.

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