The Dragon Tattoo
As I was sitting through the never ending opening title sequence of
mysterious S & M themed images set to a cover of Led Zeppelin's
I realized The Girl With The
Dragon Tattoo was going to be a
long movie (with some cool music), whether you need it to be or not,
and these guys behind it want to shock us by any means necessary.
Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, Daniel Craig stars as Mikael - a
Swedish journalist embarrassed and defamed after controversially being
found guilty of libel (and, a Swedish journalist who speaks English,
and all of the Swedish characters speak English, even though all of the
signs and writing in the movie are in Swedish, people notice those kind
of details and they take us out of the movie and back into reality, but
To save the magazine he runs with his lover, Erika (Robin Wright),
Mikael resigns and takes the intriguing, profitable job of trying to
solve a 40-year old mystery - find the missing granddaughter of a
wealthy industrialist family filled with more weirdos and malcontents
than a concert by the Insane Clown Posse. Plus, he'll need an
assistant, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), who is brilliant, disturbed,
angry and scared.
What happened to this missing girl and who did it?
Ultimately, The Girl With The
Dragon Tattoo is a movie about
bad people doing bad things, and those who believe in right and wrong
fighting back however they can. Maybe that's what made the original
Swedish version such an art house hit, but this American version should
have been tighter.
Director David Fincher wants to shock us with salaciousness, brutality,
and shocking behavior no one in the theater would ever support, but, at
its heart, The Girl With The
Dragon Tattoo is a traditional,
complex mystery wearing the salaciousness, brutality and shocking
behavior like an 18-year old college girl getting a nose ring in an
attempt to make herself appear to be more edgy and cool just before she
heads home for the holidays.
However, that mystery is compelling because of the twists and turns, as
well as characters and actors playing them. There are times when
Lisbeth is so overdone it feels affected. Her entire look with the
black-dyed hair, multiple piercings and hoodie is the kind of goth,
suicide girl you would find in the movies or on Halloween night, not in
real life, but Mara is good as the character who is starting to become
Lisbeth is a troubled young lady with lots of reasons to hate society,
so she can't be loquacious and riveting. Mara rightly plays her as a
wounded animal who strikes with ferocity when needed and wanted.
However, she's secondary.
The Girl With
The Dragon Tattoo often is
heralded for the strong, counterculture, Girl Power character of
Lisbeth Salander, but the movie feels split into two parts, with her
part being the lesser in importance. Sure, fans of the books and
Swedish movies know this character becomes a much bigger part of the
story in the next two movies, but who is to say those next two movies
get made in America? Instead of establishing a great deal of material
to set up a sequel or two, Fincher and writer Steve Zaillian need to be
making a better case for the fascination we should be feeling for
Craig is great as the journalist/investigator who often finds himself
in precarious situations, and has to grapple with his own ethical
challenges. Plus, he has this great look of shock that helps the
audience relate to Mikael.
The Girl With
The Dragon Tattoo practically
screams out that it wants to be cool, and succeeds most of the time.
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is rated R for brutal violent content
including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and