Life and 100 Films – Charlie’s Film Review of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Interested in a dark tale of murder and mystery?  If so, look no further than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher and staring Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara (yummy) as Lisbeth Salander. This is the second film to be adapted from The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, but the first to be done in English.  Larsson’s work has already been adapted to the screen in Swedish, his native language and the original publication language.

In a nutshell, the film follows a man’s mission to find out what has happened to his niece, who has been missing for 36 years and is feared to have been murdered. The man is Henrik Vanger, the patriarch and longtime CEO of The Vanger Corporation, a Swedish conglomerate that has a large presence in the country.  His niece, Harriet, went missing on a small island that many of the Vanger family members owned homes on. Due to jealousy, money, and evil that permeate the Vanger family, Henrik has very little doubt that Harriet’s killer is still alive, and he thinks a family member is to blame.  It is up to Mikael Blomkvist, who has been hired by Henrik to investigate the cold case, to reexamine the evidence and breathe new life into the disappearance that occurred so many years ago.  Unfortunately for Mikael, however, there are those who do not want the past dragged to the surface again, and this puts him in mortal danger.  Can he escape with his life?

Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy, upon which the film is based, has become one of the most popular series in the world of literature in quite some time. The Swedish film adaptations have even helped to launch the American career of Noomi Rapace (who I want to tap). But despite all this the most amazing thing about this series is that all the books were published after Stieg Larsson passed away.  He never even got the chance to see what a phenomenon his work has become!

Some were a little upset about the news of American remakes, especially since they happened so soon, but I’m happy about it. I am a fan of foreign film, but this remake is going to allow a broader audience to enjoy these intense stories. Very serious subject matter (both sexual and violent) is portrayed in the film, which may make audiences a little uneasy. However, in order to stay true to the original work it was something that needed to be done.

David Fincher was the perfect person to bring this story to life on the American big screen, and it may be one of his best works to date. I really love the look and feel of his films, and this is a great follow-up to The Social Network. Daniel Craig is good as usual, and he gives us a performance that isn’t exactly what we are used to from him. However on the other hand, the sexy Rooney Mara’s transformation into Lisbeth is what everyone is buzzing about! This is clearly a career role for her, in which she beat out many other Hollywood superstars for the role including Scarlett Johansson, who was the studio favorite. David Fincher fought for Rooney, who he just used in a minor role in The Social Network. All I have to say is she better be eternally grateful for his clout with the studio because he just made her a very in demand actress.

I will leave you with this: I highly suggest you check this film out if you are a fan of the books, want to see an entertaining piece of work, or want to know what all the fuss is about since you are too lazy to read. The film is very long, clocking in at almost 3 hours, so be aware and plan accordingly. Additionally, like I said earlier, the story deals with numerous MATURE story lines that may be hard for some people to see depicted on-screen, so consider yourselves warned.

PS…Word on the Street is both the films sequels, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, will be filmed back to back, so be ready!

4 out of 5 Stars

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2010)
Columbia Pictures
R, 158 Minutes
Kim and Todd have reviewed all three books this year.  Their reviews are: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

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