Nice ‘Tattoo’ You Got There

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

People often say that when a book is adapted into a movie, the result is not very encouraging. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is an exception; this is a movie that is worth every penny of your ridiculously overpriced movie ticket.

David Fincher directs this incredible adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel of the same name. Being a fan of the Swedish film adaptation of Larsson’s book, I can happily say that Fincher satisfies my wildest expectations.

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) loses a libel case for publishing an article on faulty information. He is sought out by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), CEO of Vanger Industries, to investigate the 40-year-old murder of his niece Harriet (Joely Richardson). Mikael accepts and temporarily relocates to Henrik’s estate, where he begins to investigate Harriet’s murder; however, when the case goes cold, Mikael realizes that he needs help.

In comes computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), the woman Henrik contracted to do the background check on Mikael before hiring him. A harsh background and life has led her to lose faith in humanity and develop a “me against the world” mentality.

After an interesting first encounter, Mikael and Lisbeth begin working on the case together. The cloud of mystery that reigns over Harriet’s murder soon elicits that there is more to the Vanger family than meets the eye.

I owe my fervent love for this film to one person: Rooney Mara. She is simply a natural, and I love her complete embodiment of Lisbeth Salander. Mara gives as good as a performance as I have ever seen any actress give. In terms of raw talent and dedication to the art of acting, she has no equal in her generation.

To Daniel Craig, I owe the same praise I give to Mara. Just as Mara captured Salander, Craig was the same for Blomkvist on the screen, and he plays the character quite comfortably. Unlike Mara, Craig has already proved his talent in other work, but I must reiterate that “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is as good a testament as any to his unbridled talent as a thespian.

I have been a David Fincher fan for many years, but “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” takes the cake. Fincher aims at portraying realism with his movies. This film is no exception.

He imbues Lisbeth Salander’s story with the gritty pangs of reality. Lisbeth has lived a harsh life and doesn’t have the most desirable of circumstances, but she is a passionate woman doing what she knows is right. Fincher pleased me with this film, but it is important to note that this was not his main goal. He desires to present a real story, and he does an exemplary job.

In terms of visuals, Fincher creates a masterpiece. Every frame exudes beauty, from the ease of a coffee shop to the snow of an unforgiving winter. The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is eerie and brash. It includes a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” that adds to the impenitent nature of the story. This film makes no apologies. There are no clichés, just truth along with a middle finger to mass appeal.

You should be excited when entering the movie theatre to watch “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” but be advised, this is no fairy tale.

Rating: 5 out of 5