Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Review

A couple of days before Christmas, I went to see the new American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (TGWTDT). I'm not going to call this a remake, since it was an adaptation of the book, rather than a remake of the Swedish movie (which I have not seen).

I read the book of TGWTDT back in August, and I have been looking forward to this movie since I heard it announced. Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara both do a good job of looking like the characters that I had in my mind as I read the book, Craig pulling off an admirable Blomkvist and completely making me forget about James Bond.

The filming of the movie, the cinematography, captured the brooding environment of the book. Much like in the movie Fargo, they managed to make winter a character in the movie, making you feel the cold and isolation that the characters must have felt. Blomkvist wandering about in a couple of scenes, his hand held out with his cell phone while trying to find a signal really captured this isolation.

Mara does a turn as Salander that is award-worthy. She manages to bring to life the quiet desperation and sometimes torturous existence of her character. The scenes where Salander's new "guardian" shows her how they can "work together" are particularly chilling to see brought to life on the screen.

The music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross made great measures towards the feel of the movie with their score. The music would often weave in and out of scenes, as characters moved through physical spaces or used electronics. The title sequence cover of Led Zepplin's Immigrant Song (with vocals from Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who also did the music from 2009's Where The Wild Things Are) will go down as one of my favorite songs of 2011.

There were a couple of subplots from the book that were dropped from the movie. The subplot dealing with Blomkvist's relationship with one of the Vanger "sisters," as well as the subplot of Millennium's ongoing financial and legal battles, were both dropped from the movie. Admittedly, this was already nearly three hours of screen time but I really think that the plot of Millennium's trials and hassles would have really added to the overall feel of the story, not to mention making you happy for the end that Wennerstrom comes to in the movie. That conclusion seemed a bit too speedily wrapped up, maybe because of the fact that we lost the Millennium subplot.

Regardless, TGWTDT was an excellent movie. It drew me into its fictional world early on and kept me engrossed in what was happening, even though I already knew what would happen from reading the book. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes detective/investigative stories, or to any geek who wants to see a well-made movie and wants to escape from the doldrums of genre movies.