David Fincher's ' The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' (2011) | Movie Review

Language - English
Genre - Mystery, Thriller, Drama
**ing - Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer

Release - 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first installment of best-selling 'Millenium Trilogy' written by the late Swedish author Steig Larsson, and was one of the most eagerly awaited films of 2011. In 2009, the Swedish director Niels Arden directed the film adaptation that was praised for it's respect for the dark and intense source material. The movie also went on to become one of the biggest European hits of the year. Though not a big fan of remakes, my excitement was mostly on account of the film-maker at the helm of the Hollywood remake. David Fincher over the years has been one of the most uncompromising and original film-makers with gems such as Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac. For someone who could turn a movie about Facebook (The Social Network) into a dark and intense Oscar winning thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the ideal novel to adapt to perfection, and he does.  

Rooney Mara plays the titular character of a hacker 'Lisbeth' with Gothic wardrobe, piercings and a large dragon tattoo.  Lisbeth is one of the most impressive female protagonists penned in recent times. Irony manifested, Lisbeth is both a vulnerable victim of horrendous abuses, as well as a fiery and feisty, self-empowered heroine of the story. Daniel Craig plays Mikael Blomqvist, an well-known investigative journalist with a Swedish magazine Millennium,  who has had a fall from grace after being set up by an rich industrialist. 

Lisbeth and Mikael are brought together as unlikely partners of an investigation into the decades old 'missing-person' case of a young woman belonging to the extremely wealthy and mysterious Vanger family with a deviously dark past and shocking family secrets. Christopher Plummer plays the patriarch of the powerful Vanger family Henrik Vanger and is impressive as ever in the few moments he is on the screen, and Stellan Skarsgård as Henrik's nephew and CEO of Vanger Industries, Martin Vanger, gives another deceitfully convincing performance. 

But it's really Rooney Maara who manages to outshine in one of the most intense performances of the year, impressive enough to have won her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Though it takes a while, she gradually makes the character her own and by the second half, she makes the movie her own. David Fincher yet again shows his prowess with a brutal and edgy narrative that never breathes easy, complemented by freezing and haunting North European landscape, and a brilliant score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that is largely reminiscent of their previous Oscar winning effort for The Social Network. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is undoubtedly the most immersive, entertaining and intense thriller of 2011, and the biggest shock Oscar exclusion for Best Film.