Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011 - U.S. Remake)

 (this review is not reflective of the novel or the original film)

After all of the strange trailer spots and even more bizarre print ads, director David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was released last weekend just in time for the Christmas holiday. Deck the halls with mystery and murder...and to all a good fright!

After recently being charged with libel by CEO Hans-Erik Wennerstrom for embezzlement, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is recruited by the wealthy Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to reside on the family's personal island and locate his missing niece Harriet. Missing for over forty years, Harriet mysteriously vanished from the island without a trace and no one has been able to bring closure to her disappearance. Under the guise of recording Henrik's memoirs to hide his real intentions from the rest of the Vanger family, Mikael reluctantly decides to take him up on his offer when Henrik promises the ammunition and resources to help clear his name and prove Wennerstrom's guilt. As things begin to unravel, Mikael recruits Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a rough around the edges and unorthodox yet intelligent tech genius with extraordinary detective skills, to assist him in uncovering the truth about Harriet and the Vanger clan.   

One of the most anticipated films of 2011, Dragon certainly justified the hype. This film is not your traditional mystery or whodunit in the least bit and will have you guessing until end, while you remain on the edge of your seat. The angles, leads and suspects are plenty, so you will have a good time grinding your brain as the Blomkvist/Salander duo bring clarity to their investigation. 

The acting is excellent from top to bottom with nary a weak link in the casting choices. Interestingly enough, Mara is getting a lot more praise than she should since she has the fortune of playing such a great character while simply acting like she does in every other film. It's Rooney Mara just being the usual broody Rooney Mara, but maybe her lack of facial expressions or acting range is perfectly suited for the awesome Lisbeth character. Meanwhile, Craig is really solid as the main lead and it is always good to see Plummer in a strong turn. The better question: Is there a role that Stellan Skarsgard cannot perform adequately? He plays  
Martin Vanger with the utmost charm and cunning. Even Julian Sands shows up in a cameo.

An added bonus to this flick is Fincher's spot-on choice to employ Trent Reznor in handling scoring duties. From the opening credits' remake of Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song" to the end credits theme, the music and score really help establish Dragon's uneasy and unnerving tone. The score also effectively sets the pace beween high tension sequences and more methodically developed scenes. Speaking of Reznor, look for the visual Nine Inch Nails in-joke. 

This cinematic version will please all demographic of TGWTDT enthusiasts. The fans of the book will enjoy seeing the film bring their characters to life, fans of the 2009 film will enjoy seeing another take on the tale and those unfamiliar to the story will be treated to a dark yet beautiful mystery as it unfolds on the big screen. See this one now!

Thoughts From The Cave: If I can sit through a 158-minute long film and be highly entertained without looking at my watch, then trust me when I tell you to see this film. Easily the best flick I have seen in 2011. The film was so cool that it makes me want to read the books, and that NEVER happens with me.

4.5 out of 5 Creeper Santas






Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The original version was good if not very disturbing.

Chuck said...

Dude, I knew this was going to be a great one...went to the theatre today and saw Sherlock Holmes and put this one as my next must-see...now I need to to go Thursday and see it. My kind of flick and your review has sealed it for me. Thanks for the great creeper Santa rating! Happy Holidays, Geof!

Korsgaard said...

This was an amazing film... I've seen it two more times since I reviewed it. Shame the Oscars failed to recognize it, but it's definately a shoo-in for a few KG Awards.

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