“Whoa” is a really basic summary of my reaction to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I mean, just, whoa. A full two hours and 40 minutes of intense adrenaline-pumping action wiped me out, and it was amazing.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is the tense adventure of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and the edgy hacker Lisabeth Salander (Rooney Mara) as they try to solve a murder 50 years after it happened. Sounds epic, right? Trust me, it is. Most of us know and love Daniel Craig as Bond, James Bond, but he can also rock the perplexed investigative character. And sure, no one can wear a pair of jeans quite like Craig can, but Rooney Mara really owns this movie. I’ve never admired an impersonal, intimidating punk with a killer death stare as much as I do Lisabeth. Her character is so perplexing and absorbing that every moment she’s not on screen, you wonder where she is, what she’s doing, and when she’s coming back. The plot itself is interesting enough, but what follows you out of the theater is Lisabeth and the ever-surprising reactions to whatever is thrown at her. And goodness, are things thrown at her.
A quick word to all those a little faint of heart: “Dragon Tattoo” is incredibly graphic, and there are some scenes that are truly hard to watch. Those scenes are necessary for the film, and I don’t mean to scare anyone off, I just want you to be prepared. Oh, and don’t see with this with the parents – just avoid that abyss of awkwardness for as long as you can.
While the acting is terrific and the directing superb (director David Fincher is kind of a genius: “Social Network,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Fight Club” …), “Dragon Tattoo” has some holes that lead to confusion. The plot is twisting and confusing as it is, and there are some links toward the end that aren’t exactly missing, but aren’t exactly explained either. And not the good kind, where it’s open to interpretation, but the bad kind, where some things stop making sense. Luckily I read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson* before watching the movie, so I understood what was going on, but it wasn’t as easy to follow as it should have been. But if you pay close attention, I’m sure you can piece it together without too much trouble.
Now I’ve been going back and forth about “Dragon Tattoo,” trying to decide if it was brilliant or disappointing, and I’ve decided it’s a mixture, leaning toward brilliant, but not strongly. So along with a simultaneous warning and recommendation, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” receives a solid 6!
*First of all, read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” because it is amazing and wonderful and will keep you up until 3 in the morning and even then you can’t sleep because you’re wondering if you could work a dragon tattoo. If you’ve already read it, good for you. But don’t try to compare the film and book too closely – there are some minor differences, but just let them go. The film is an interpretation of the book, not an exact replica. What fun would that be? But if you want to discuss the book, or the book in relation to the movie, or even the Swedish “Dragon Tattoo,” hit me up at email@example.com!