Starring Rooney Mara & Daniel Craig
Directed by David Fincher
In popular culture when a book or a movie created outside of the North American sphere of influence captures the conciseness of the media consuming public, it is only a matter of time before Hollywood grabs a hold of it to make their very own version. Out today from our friends at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the first book in the epic ‘Millennium’ trilogy of books that came out of the country of Sweden, and captured the attention of the entire planet in one form or another. It’s time for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” based on Stieg Larsson’s posthumously published crime thriller trilogy, “The Millennium Series”, describes the mystery surrounding the long-unsolved disappearance of an heiress. A journalist (Craig) recently dinged by a libel case and a young female hacker (Mara) try to resolve it, stirring up bundles of personal and industrial corruption along the way.
While certainly not better or worse than the Swedish version, Fincher gives this adaptation a bigger feel and a much wider scope. Best known for his work on films like ‘Seven’, ‘Zodiac’ and most recently ‘The Social Network’, Fincher returns to the bleak worlds of the forbidden and the downright disturbing with a fair amount of gusto, managing to make the film feel much grander than any other adaptation has before. Fincher takes us through the loyalty, betrayal, raw sexual energy of the source material with supreme dedication sucking the viewer into this story, for a 165 minute ride that feels like it never should have ended. Combine Fincher’s storytelling prowess with the music score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that bristles with the kinetic energy that every one of these characters exudes and you have excellent pulp entertainment that manages to rise above the norm given the excellent between the two leads.
Both Mara and Craig delivered fine performances, but in comparison to the Swedish versions of the film it is Craig who manages to stand head and shoulders above his Swedish counterpart Michael Nyqvist. Craig oozes the sexual charisma necessary for the role and came off like more of a freewheeling and rugged investigative reporter & playboy rather than a mildly dowdy magazine editor like Nyqvist did in the Swedish version. While I personally preferred Noomi Rapace’s turn as the researcher/hacker recruited to help solve this mystery, Rooney Mara did turn in a star making performance as Lisbeth Salander. Mara made the character a little more her own, giving the character more of a manic and unhinged edge and it still worked quite well. An incredibly strong supporting cast with the likes of Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Joely Richardson, Robin Wright and Steven Berkoff showing up in a variety of roles, but this film shines with Craig’s animal magnetism, Mara’s raw sexual energy and the fantastic charisma between the two on screen.
The picture and sound on the Blu-Ray are simply fantastic creating an incredibly immersive experience as it is designed to be played loud. Special Features on this set include a feature length commentary track with director David Fincher as well as an extensive dig deep inside the Vanger archives with nearly 4 hours of behind the scenes footage, interviews, rehearsals, screen tests and much more.
Ultimately this version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” stands on its own from all other version, as this is probably the first version of the film that felt truly epic in scope. Even though it admittedly took me 2 viewings to get to this point, I certainly hope that Fincher steps behind the camera to do the other two books in this trilogy.
5 out of 5 stars.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is available at video stores all across Toronto; click here for a list of some of the finer video stores near you. If you’d still like the opportunity to catch this on the big screen it is still playing at a handful of screens around Toronto; click here for a list of show times near you.
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