Full disclosure: I have not read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo nor have I seen the Swedish language film. This either makes me the best person to review the 2011 remake or the worst. So what made me want to watch the remake after I had passed up the book and the original film? Director David Fincher. He’s the mastermind behind such films as “Seven,” “Fight Club” and “The Social Network.” I’m a huge fan of his movies, and I even enjoyed the ones that others considered duds like “The Game,” “Panic Room” and “Zodiac.” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is definitely in his wheelhouse.
For the three people who have not consumed the story: Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played by Daniel Craig) is hired by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), an aging industrialist, to figure out who killed his niece 40 years earlier. Everyone in Vanger’s eccentric family, including a handful of Nazis, is a suspect. Lisbeth Salander is the titular “Girl,” a gifted hacker who helps Blomkvist piece together the mystery. Salander is played (inhabited is a better word) by Rooney Mara whose regular girl-next-door look is subverted into the pierced, alt icon. Mara is 100% devoted to the role, and she owns the movie because of it.
Fincher’s take is bleak and beautiful with atmosphere to spare. Every shot is purposeful and builds tension. The movie looks, for the lack of a better word, expensive. Which also might be a bit of a problem, because the movie didn’t perform quite up to expectations. So, Fincher led sequels are up in the air. In the meantime, I’m going to devour the books, which is something I obviously should’ve done a long time ago.