Starring Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer

Directed by David Fincher

Written by Steve Zaillian from the novel by Stieg Larsson

Columbia Pictures

First of all, macabre movie fans, yes, we do get to hear Karen O, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s version of Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” in a stunning opening credits sequence that rivals anything Maurice Binder ever created for the early Bonds and makes me want to get in line to watch this film again.

That aside, there are many reasons for horror fans to want to see this film: David Fincher’s dark, edgy aesthetic is in full effect; Rooney Mara is a Goth goddess, more frail physically than Noomi Rapace, the original Lisbeth Salander, but still tough as nails; and Reznor and Ross’s score walks the line between eerie and ambient.

You likely know the story: this American remake of the Swedish film of late author Stieg Larsson’s best-seller stars Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) as Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced magazine publisher hired by wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to investigate the disappearance 40 years earlier of his niece Harriet whom he believes was murdered by a member of his own family. To that end Blomkvist hires Salander (Mara: The Social Network), an antisocial but genius hacker, as his assistant. Together they uncover old secrets and form an odd bond in their pursuit of solving the mystery.

As you had hoped, Dragon Tattoo is pretty much brilliant, and even at around 160 minutes, I was never tempted to glance at my watch. Screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) apparently mostly sticks to his source material (I have not read the novel and have some only seen bits of the Swedish film), and Craig’s Blomkvist and Mara’s Salander make a wonderfully odd team. Fincher’s high style, meanwhile, is in full effect, but it is always in service to the story; I never felt he was showing off for the sake of it.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a truly adult film for this time of year which goes to some awful, dark places but ends on a note so melancholy that it had me thinking about it long after I left the theatre. It’s also a massively complex film which I suspect will yield its own mysteries by way of a second viewing which may soon be necessary.

Rating: 4/5


  1. James Morrison Says:

    Sean, if you haven’t seen the original Swedish trilogy yet, you simply must. I must confess I haven’t read the books either (shame on me!), but the films (either subtitled or dubbed – I’ve done both) are masterpieces of suspense. Apparently the trilogy is now available on Blu-Ray as a box-set in its original unedited format; the three movies were each originally made as a 2-part TV miniseries, and edited rather severely for theatres.

  2. Good to know that it lives up to the original. Great write-up, man.

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