Often times, when there is a screenplay adapted from a book, folks tend to believe the movie can’t live up to the hype. The stigma is not true of this thriller, which delivers nothing short of perfection. Adapted for the silver screen from the international best seller by the late Steig Larsson, this film is features a truly misunderstood girl that works as an investigator, using not so legal techniques. Starring Rooney Mara as “Lisbeth Salander”, or the “girl with the dragon tattoo”, she steps into the leading role for the first time in her short career. Salander is an investigative computer hacker, living as a ward of the state having to “please” her caseworker in order to obtain her own money and survive. Investigating a disappearance along side fellow investigator, “Mikael Blomkvist” (Daniel Craig) the two uncover a string of murders that all appear to link to someone on the island. What follows is a series of twist and suspense unlike any other in Hollywood.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not for the faint at heart. Director David Fincher delivers a dark cinematic masterpiece. Fincher, know for his dramatic films like Fight Club, Se7en, and the Social Network brings his same elements to this film. Highlighted by the eerie lighting, or lack there of, Fincher creates suspense throughout the entire film. The audience is unknowing of what will come next. The film is like a twisting maze, with new events around every corner. The only way one would know what was about to happen is if they had read the book, but even then one can’t comprehend the way it would all play out on the silver screen. Fincher delivers with unparalleled execution. Steig Larsson fans will be pleased with this one.
When dealing with an adapted screenplay it becomes difficult for writers to stay true to the story, since they try so hard to make it their own. Writer Steven Zaillian, writer of such films as Gangs of New York, American Gangster, and Schindler’s List, brings to life Larsson’s twisted characters without compromising the integrity of the original novel. With the help of Larsson’s books, Zaillian creates a crew of complex family members in northern Sweden. The writing is so good that at one point I could have believed anyone of the family members were behind the disappearance.
The cast, not filled with star power names, with the exclusion of Daniel Craig, comes out swinging and pulls no punch. Rooney Mara, in her first leading role shows dynamic character changes and deep complex issues throughout. Mara’s character has some of the most heart breaking scenes ever to be in a film. Mara looks to have a bright future ahead of her, as she will most likely star in the two follow-ups to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Craig’s character, “Mikael Blomkvist”, recently embarrassed in the public view for the accusations accused to a major cooperation, which he could not prove, leaves to take a private job with the owner of Vanger cooperation, with hopes of calming down his life. Unknowing of the looming doom in which he was stepping into, he is quickly thrown into a web of lies, hate, and cover ups throughout the entire “Vanger” cooperation and family. Craig shows his range in this film, as he steps down from the “know it all” badass like James Bond, to become the weak writer/investigator. As “Blomkvist” gets closer to finding out the truth behind the lost “Harriet Vanger”(played by Joely Richardson), he becomes wrapped up in family secret that spans generations of Vanger’s. The cast does not disappoint in this one.
David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is both thought provoking and twisted. Rooney Mara steals the show with her amazing acting and portrayal of “Lisbeth Salander”. This film earns its rating of R by the MPAA, with graphic nudity, rape, and violence. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars, a grade rating of an A+, and watch for this one in the running for the Oscars. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is in theaters now worldwide.