Cinema Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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DIR: David Fincher • WRI: Steven Zaillian • PRO: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin, Søren Stærmose, Ole Søndberg • DOP: Jeff Cronenweth • ED: Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall • DES: Donald Graham Burt • CAST: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer

The news of this ‘Americanisation’ was not exactly greeted with open arms, since the original was released only two years ago, and Noomi Rapace found to be the The Definitive Girl. But director David Fincher has played it relatively smart, refusing to move the story from its original Swedish setting, and even though the story is told in English, most of the cast speak in strong Swedish accents.

The one exception being Daniel Craig, as the new Mikael Blomkvist, who retains his English accent, but integrates new levels of strengths and weaknesses into the character. The story of his fall from grace after being found guilty of libel, to being hired by Christopher Plummer’s rich family patriarch to find the murderer of his niece, an event which took place 40 years prior, is played out with such slow burn tension that you don’t even notice it creep up on you.

Meanwhile, Roomey Mara’s Lisbeth Salander blasts off from the get-go. Promptly after being hired to do a background check on Blomkvist, Salander is violently and sexually assaulted by her state-appointed case worker. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, and Salander’s revenge is sure to have the entire audience looking away from the screen. Soon she is hired by Blomkvist to assist him in his case, and the plot of the movie kicks into top gear.

But this is almost 70 minutes into a 160-minute movie, and Fincher is here to take his time. Every shot is framed immaculately, every edit is timed precisely, every music cue introduced perfectly. He gets some career-best performances from his large cast, and Mara can rest easy knowing that her version of The Girl is just as unique and memorable as Rapace’s.

The only fault with the movie lies with its original material, and is the same problem that plagued the original adaptation. Once the main plot wraps up, there are still some 15 minutes of miscellaneous storylines to wade through, and while they are setting up for the sequels, on their own they feel superfluous. However, speaking of the sequels, it is generally regarded that the original adaptations of The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest dropped the ball, so here’s hoping Fincher and co. return to show them how it’s really done.

Rory Cashin

Rated 18 (see IFCO website for details)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is released on 26th  December 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Official Website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zyj2Qb9PEiQ

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