DVD Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

★★★★1/2

“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is David Fincher’s latest film and it’s sort of like a greatest hits of Fincher’s previous films and I don’t mean that not in a bad way. It’s based on the mammoth selling novel by Stieg Larsson. It was previous adapted by Swedish T.V which was released internationally theatrically. I have to admit I haven’t seen the original Swedish version or read the novel. I decided to wait for the David Fincher version who’s work I’ve always been extremely fond of especially “Fight Club” and “Zodiac”.

It’s about a journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played by Daniel Craig) who has just lost a libel case against him by crooked businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström. He is hired by Henrik Vanger (played by Christopher Plummer) to investigate a murder of his grandniece who Henrik suspects was murdered by a member of his twisted family. Lisbeth Salander (played by Rooney Mara) is the titled Girl with the Dragon Tattoo who is a bisexual punk rock computer hacker who did a background search on Blomkvist for Vanger. Mikael and Lisbeth eventually meet but not till well into the film.

Unlike most films which are told in a 3 act structure; it’s told in a 5 act structure which Fincher notes is very similar to television cop dramas. As expect with all of Fincher’s work it’s made with great style, which is evident from the lavish opening credits (which probably most more than most indie films) and Fincher’s use of CGI is most more restrained than normal just after this is the guy who did a totally CGI sex scene, it’s much more subtle used like it was in “Zodiac”.

The cast as always in Fincher’s films are exceptional, I think it’s Daniel Craig’s best role to date cause I’ve never been a fan of his Bond (it’s simple the hair is just wrong). Rooney Mara is obviously somebody to look out for in the near future and this is clearly her star making role. Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Robin Wright (formally Penn) are all great as expected even though the moment you see Skarsgard on screen you know he is behind something. I actually think Plummer’s performance in this was better than his academy-award winning performance in “Beginners”.

As I previously stated it’s sort of a “greatest hits” compilation of what Fincher has done before; it’s noir like, extremely violent at times, it deals with a outsider, betrayal, it deals with a killer, computer programming/hacking,  psychologically in balanced characters. David Fincher has been on record for saying he was drawn to it because of it’s similarity to “Chinatown” (one of his favourite films and he has done a commentary for it) and it is similar, they both noir-ish and deal with big family corruption.

However it’s not as great as that wonderful film but like all of Fincher’s films it’s very good and constructed. Fincher is probably the best director around when it comes to constructing his films, he is notorious for the amount of takes he does and his eye for detail is hard to beaten with maybe only Terry Gilliam or Guillermo Del Toro having a better eye for detail. He is brilliant at pacing his films even though for the most part his films are well over the 2-hour mark but they are always captivating.

Ian Schultz

Rating: 18
DVD Release Date: April 23rd, 2012 (UK)
Director:David Fincher
Cast:Daniel CraigRooney MaraChristopher PlummerStellan Skarsgård

BUY: DVD The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo DVD Launch Report / Blu-Ray

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About Ian Schultz

I'm the guy who normally covers stuff released by Masters of Cinema and Arrow Video along with a sprinkling of other stuff. I love a wide range of films from European art house films to silly action films. My top 10 films are Brazil, Blue Velvet, Donnie Darko, Fight Club, Jackie Brown, Seconds, Pan's Labyrinth, Badlands, Blade Runner, The Night of the Hunter.

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