I apologize for the lateness of these reviews and blame it on holiday withdrawal.
Who is fierce, brilliant, and unafraid? If you answered Meryl Streep and actually all the actresses who gave great, strong performances this year you are right. Well, sort of. In this case the person or character referred to is Lisbeth Salander. Noomi Rapace brought her to life perfectly in the Swedish trilogy. However, Rooney Mara is also excellent in David Fincher’s version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
It was hard not to have high expectations after Noomi Rapace and the striking three Swedish films adapted from Stieg Larsson’s novels. You do not want to be disappointed. Luckily, Fincher does a wonderful job of directing in his usual dark style, save the opening sequence. What was up with that exactly? Besides that though, this The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo took the positive elements of a Hollywood film, crisp editing and finesse.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is two and a half hours, like the original Swedish version, but it moves along quickly and has the same intensity. By intensity, I mean sitting on the edge of your seat/biting your nails with one hand/making a fist with the other intensity. This is not a light film by any means but the scenes are shot well. The soundtrack by Trent Reznor adds to the overall feeling of movie. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Immigrant Song — Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross feat. Karen O
Some elements of the plot have been changed but none have a negative effect on the film. In fact, the relationship between Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander is made more obvious. Mikael comes to Lisbeth to ask her to help him find “a killer of women” and the ending of the film goes beyond its Swedish twin by leaving us with Lisbeth watching Mikael leave with his fellow journalist (also his mistress) and the look of disappointment on her face. It makes their relationship more important and vital to the story, which is a positive addition. Also, Daniel Craig is in his most likable state here, softer than usual. It is Rooney Mara who pulls through and makes Lisbeth young, vulnerable and even more playful (although not as haunted as Noomi Rapace). Mara has been nominated already for some prestigious awards and hopefully will be nominated for an Oscar as well (the movie and Fincher should also get noticed).
If you have been living under a rock-like place and do not know what The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about, here is a quick synopsis. A smart, antisocial woman named Lisbeth Salander is a computer whiz/hacker by day and a feminist always. A journalist named Mikael Blomkvist, whose name has been slandered from a messy trial, is asked to investigate the disappearance of a wealthy, powerful man’s granddaughter who went missing over forty years ago. Lisbeth helps Mikael find the killer and they find out a lot of pretty bad stuff along the way. The corruption that goes all the way to the top and Lisbeth’s past leads to her being The Girl Who Played with Fire and eventually The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. “The land of the midnight sun is much darker” than we could have ever imagined.