Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Year:  2011
Director:  David Fincher
Screenplay:  Steven Zaillian, based on the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Starring:  Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Yorick van Wageningen, Joley Richardson
Running Time:  158 minutes
Genre:  Thriller, crime, drama, mystery

This is the English language film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Steig Larsson, which was first published in 2005, and was already the subject of a 2009 Swedish film.

Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) is hired by Henrik Vanger (Plummer) the wealthy, elderly patriarch of a large and powerful family, ostensibly to write his biography, but in reality to investigate the murder of his beloved neice, who disappeared almost forty years previously.  Vanger is convinced that one of the family killed her.  As he investigates, Blomkvist enlists the help of troubled computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Mara).  Together the two begin to discover some shocking secrets about the Vanger family.  Secrets that some would kill to keep hidden.

This is a very faithful adaptation of the novel.  Visually it is very impressive, with the bleak, wintery landscapes giving the film an almost dreamlike atmosphere.  The cast are uniformly brilliant, with Rooney Mara exceptional in the difficult role of Lisbeth Salander, who is already one of the most memorable characters in modern popular fiction.  The film also manages to condense a complex and long novel into a coherent film.  The film retains the Swedish setting of the original novel, but all the dialogue is English language, with the cast basically speaking in Swedish accents, which seems slightly bizarre.  Also the film moves at a fairly sedate pace, although there are sudden bursts of violence, a couple of which are genuinely shocking and disturbing.  

However, it is a fierce and powerful piece of work, with a superb visual sense and would be worth watching just for Rooney Mara's performance alone.

Rooney Mara is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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