The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

by George Watches Things

****

Wow. It’s been a long time since I wrote a film review, hasn’t it? So, should we just jump right in?

I was excited for this movie. I got a chance to see the Swedish version (the 7th best film of 2010) back in October, and I was floored by it. I really like David Fincher, and I really like this story. Fortunately, my excitement was not let down.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about two people trying to solve a crime. One is a disgraced journalist (Mikael, who is played by Daniel Craig), the other a computer hacker (Lisbeth, who is played by Rooney Mara). They were hired by an ailing old man (a role that I thought would have more screen time occupied by Christopher Plummer), and the crime committed was the murder of his favorite niece. I expect most of you are familiar with the plot, though.

Critics have scrutinized the film for spending too much time with the characters apart, but I liked this move in the 2010 version, and I like it here. It’s true, the Swedish version is better with clock management, but pace is something that didn’t bother me as I watched Fincher’s entry in the franchise.

The ideal adaptation of the best-selling novel is probably somewhere in between the two recent films. However, I believe this one is slightly superior. I’ll concede that the film (tries and) fails to convince audiences that the true climax is at the very end, since this story is more about Mikael and Lisbeth than the mystery they’re trying to solve. But it wraps up nicely, not in the Hollywood way the non-Hollywood version does. Plus, the Lisbeth character is brought down a notch from Noomi Rapace’s “all men and most women can just go to hell, but I don’t really care anyway” version.

If I were Leonard Maltin, this is what I would write in my movie guide app: David Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo remake is more stylish and more likable than its Swedish predecessor. Craig is good as a penniless journalist, but it’s Mara who shines as punk goth Lisbeth, a computer hacker. Don’t miss the opening credits.

Notes

  • I suggest you see this on a big screen.
  • If you see and enjoy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, please see Psycho.
  • Dragon Tattoo is out now in theaters across the country.
  • Coming soon: the final awards (yay), a couple of reviews from 2011 I never got to post, and (I guess) some new stuff.
  • Have you seen TGwtDT? What do you think?
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