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Movie Reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo



Released: 26 December 2011 (UK)

Director: David Fincher

Stars: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer

Certificate: 18

Reviewer: Ben Harris

‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’– first an international best selling novel, by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, then came the critically claimed Swedish film starring Noomi Rapace. Now American filmmaker David Fincher brings us an English-language adaptation, which stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

Craig plays journalist Mikael Blomkvist who is hired by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to find out what happened to his niece, Harriet Vanger, who went missing 40 years previously. With the help of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) Mikael digs deeper into the families past and their research leads them to numerous other murders making them fear Harriet endured the same fate.

It may be two people looking at documents and photographs for two and a half hours but the complex mystery is a gripping aspect. In terms of structure people who have seen the original, like myself, may find this version too similar to the Swedish version. The acts of violence and rape, which are brutal, don’t deliver a big impact because its been seen before, and in some ways, been done better. But audiences who have no knowledge of the story will surely be disturbed and shocked by the content.

Nevertheless Fincher delivers when it comes to direction and tone. It’s a good-looking movie, very atmospheric with its bleak backdrop, and he is able to showcase what a great actress Rooney Mara is. Mara, only really known for a short role in ‘The Social Network’, embraces the role with just gusto that she gives Noomi Rapace a run for her money. Daniel Craig is also a welcome addition to the cast and gives a satisfying performance.

‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ starts slow but picks up pace when our two, yet very different, protagonists come together. The interaction is great and as the two get closer, personally and professionally, to finding the truth the more you get absorbed in the story, even if they do make the killer blatantly obvious.

Although familiar in storytelling and a little overlong Fincher’s vision does the material justice and thanks to brilliant performances ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ is an enthralling revamp.

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