Dir. David Fincher
Reviewed for Darkmatters by Matt Adcock
“Rape, torture, fire, animals, religion. Am I missing anything?” Mikael Blomkvist
Welcome to the dark, lurid world of Stieg Larson’s multi-million selling novel – wonderfully reworked here in English by master director David ‘Social Network’ Fincher. Sure it’s only been a few years since the original Swedish language film brought the iconic titular ‘Girl’ to the big screen but this new riff on the material is something rather awesome, something that reaches into your soul and squeezes it so tightly that time flies past in a whirl of deception and intrigue.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo packs in the nastiness - serial killing, Nazis, incest, rape and violent retribution, yes it’s trashy and base but Fincher manages to elevate the overall experience to one that leaves you breathless and highly engaged. The second the cool opening credits roll – to the disturbing strains of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's soundtrack – through to the semi cliff-hanging finish (there are two more books / films in this series), this is a cinematic experience unlike any other.
Daniel Craig is excellent in the central role of disgraced hotshot journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, who gets more than he bargained for when hired to investigate the unsolved disappearance of a girl from her home on an odd little family owned Swedish island. Could the case be linked to the work of a serial ritualistic murderer whose sadistic killing spree has spanned generations?
"Fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of a Nazi scum!?"
By far the star of the show though is Lisbeth Salander (an incredible performance by Rooney ‘The Social Network’ Mara), a socially challenged twenty-something super hacker and ward of the state. She who wears the dragon tattoo is the pivotal character who undergoes extreme sexual abuse, humiliation and degradation at the hands of her perverted legal guardian. Her subsequent revenge is eye-wateringly savage but completely understandable – and is designed to empower females everywhere.
The build up of the investigation is more clearly laid out in this version too although the list of suspects from the Vanger family on the island is short and it’s not a major surprise when source of the evil is found.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is meticulously shot film and creates a truly dynamic chilly atmosphere which veritably leaks from the screen into your subconscious.
Highly recommended for those who like their mysteries shot through with pitch-black undercurrents. Come on Sony, get parts 2 and 3 made soon!
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
4.5 – breath in those smouldering lurid thrills
Awesomeness öööö – kicks in hard in places (that other films cannot reach)
Laughs öö – dark mirth in places
Horror öööö – oohh that's nasty in places
Babes ööö – stars the only Rooney I fancy (see below)
Spiritual Enlightenment öö – not so much unless you want to investigate the theology of revenge?
Second opinion: Tom Wade's Review on CultureSlap
"Rooney shoots and scores (looking more normal here)"