The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012)

by | May 1, 2012 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer
Director: David Fincher
Studio: Sony Pictures 10252929 [3/20/12]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced color
Audio: English DD 5.1, English audio descriptive track, French DD 5.1, Dolby surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Commentary track by director
Length: 158 minutes
Rating: *****

This is the Hollywood version of the first of the Swedish tryptich of films, all based on the intriguing characters of the late novelist Stieg Larsson. While I was prepared to find the remake less effective than the first of the original Swedish film (as most Hollywood remakes of foreign films are), I have to admit it’s probably even better. The cinematography is lovely and the entire cast do a superb job—especially Rooney Mara as the disturbed punk Lisbeth Salander. Stieg said at one point that his series of novels resulted from his feeling ashamed that he had done nothing when as a 15-year-old he saw a young girl get raped. That scene with Lisbeth’s awful parole officer is hard to take but a vital part of the plot, which becomes central in the final film.
Lisbeth is a 24-year-old computer hacker who has had a difficult life due to the abuse of male authority figures. She teams up with Miael Blomkvist (Craig), who has been offered the job of writing a family biography of the complex Vagner family as a sort of respite from his disgrace getting sued for libel by a corrupt billionaire financier. Blomkvist needs an assistant to help him solve the 40-year-old “murder” of the great-niece of the businessman Henrik Vagnerm who has hired him. Blomkvist wants her help even after learning that she illegally hacked into his own computer while check on his background for Vagner. Their relationship becomes complex and sexual (in fact they spend more time in bed in this one than the Swedish original), but together they solve the so-called “murder,” and Blomkvist even eventually gets the goods on the corrupt billionaire who had sent him to prison. The details of this odd Swedish family can be very confusing; check out Wikipedia to get all the characters straight.
Though long, the film moves faster than the Swedish original and the whole thing is a bit sharper and nastier than the original. The dialog is snappier than the original and very important. The feeling of a bitter cold Swedish winter is strong and the soundtrack music supports the unnerving feeling of some danger right around every corner.
The other two films in the Swedish series weren’t as good as the first, and since this remake has been such a success there will surely be two  others in this new series, which one looks forward to.
—John Sunier