Let me go on front street about this – I am a David Fincher fan. I was floored by Seven when I first saw it. 2007’s Zodiac appealed to my precise sensibilities in a detective thriller. Even last year’s Social Network appealed to me, with the Trent Reznor soundtrack, and Sorkin’s unique, fast-paced dialogue. So essentially, I was biased to like this from the start. When I first saw the kinetic trailer, set to the amazing cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, I could not have been more excited. I watched the trailer over, and over again just so I could enjoy something that was built so confidently.
I can’t really say the same about the film, on the whole. It is ultimately too much of a time commitment to re-watch with the same intensity. Which isn’t to say that the movie lacks intensity, far from it. The story, the characters, provide moments of extreme excitement. The titular Girl is Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara, whose portrayal of the highly damaged, volatile, and by her own admission, insane punk. Her counterpart, Mikael Blomkvist, portrayed in this version by Daniel Craig, is much more subdued, controlled, merely hinting at something below the surface. The two get involved in a tale of intrigue, uncovering a massive trail of ghastly murders.
The homicide investigation takes over the middle of the movie, but is book-ended by the characters’ personal problems. This is probably to be expected in a film that is predestined to have sequels – the attempts to spend more time just getting to know the characters is certainly justified. Lisbeth’s background is inevitably more dramatic – her story of rape and glorious, brutal revenge works perfectly to set up her character.
All this is done in an extremely stylish way, the direction is masterful. David Fincher shows, once again, that he is a true filmmaker. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not the best movie of the year, or the most exciting. It is simply always a pleasure to see such a confidently made stylish film in action.