Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I have been waiting with baited breath for exactly one year and four months to see the movie release of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Unlike many things in life, it was totally worth the wait.

Of all the books I read last year, the Millennium series was, excluding the Harry Potter finale, my favorite. You know you’re far gone when you devour three books in an orgiastic sprint that only abates for sleep and food! Like many other avid readers, movies based on a favorite book are fraught with anxiety less the interpretation fails to do justice to the writer’s vision and your imagination. I can cross this off my list of anxieties lol.

All the things I loved translated seamlessly to the screen, complexity of plot, character and mood. The opening graphics/credits are quite simply a work of art that exceeded my imagination and the score was perfect – simple, clean and emphatic, underscoring the mood of each scene. None of which would’ve meant much without the stellar casting of Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer, to name a few. Unlike many movies, the supporting roles were just as great as the main characters.

If you hadn’t read the books, you wouldn’t appreciate just what a great job was done of staying true to the story, from the physical characteristics to the action and scenery. Seeing as how I am still waiting for someone to do justice to one of Anne Rice’s books, I take my hat off to the film makers for this accurate ode to Steig Larson’s work.

Of all the characters, I have to marvel once again at the heroine, Lisbeth Sandler. She keeps unfolding before you and once you think you’ve got her figured out she surprises you yet again. You’re tempted at first to view her as an anti-social, 21st century brat. Her physicality, vulnerable and slight, is at odds with the brazenness of her tattoos and piercings. Her loneliness and somberness is evident even as she attempts to hide her beauty beneath dark, baggy clothes, a mask of rigidity and deliberate isolation.

As the plot unfolds, you come to understand that she is more than meets the eye, possessing a rapier like intelligence, a harsh sense of justice, an unseen, formidable strength and determination. The juxtaposition of these characteristics is nothing less than fascinating. Yet, she is revealed bit by bit with an adroitness that speaks to the skill of Steig Larson. The challenge of portraying such a contradictory and deep character is masterfully done by Rooney Mara.

Lisbeth is the best kind of underdog, rising inexorably to every challenge. In my opinion, all other characters pale in comparison to the brilliance of her articulation, she is so wonderfully human beneath the trappings that she, and the viewer, attempt to wrap her in. Just like in life, people do not fit in the boxes we wish to put them in and how wonderful that is. She remains an enigma and something tells me that she would want it that way.

This story, could only have been written now, as it’s very human and flawed characters, at once lost to others, yet exposed and inter-dependent, as we have been at no other time in history – thanks to technology. There is a merging of the old guard and new, in the characters and the scenery against the gorgeous backdrop of Switzerland.

I could go on to illuminate the plot but I think it’s best that you take it in for yourself. I couldn’t do it justice in 700 characters or less anyway…

It was refreshing to sit in a movie and every one was still because they were fully engaged by the story, sans special effects. At the end, there was a spontaneous burst of applause so I have to say the critics are, not surprisingly, off the mark as it is a highly enjoyable film. Hey, I can’t think about social ills and politics ALL the time. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

    1. Thanks for stopping by. It’s a must see! In case you couldn’t tell from my review. I didn’t see the Swedish version, you’ll have to let me know how it compares. I heard good things about it too.

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