I attended a screening of ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ on Monday night and I thought the film was incredibly well done. I should point out that I have not seen the Swedish film or read the book… so I cannot comment on how it compares to either. Once I had heard that David Fincher was making his version of the property, I made a point to avoid knowing what happens… so that I could actually try to figure out the mystery as I watched the film. I found this method to be quite rewarding.
David Fincher has always been one of my favorite directors. One of his best films was the movie: ‘Zodiac’. If you have seen that film, you basically know the style this film has because it is thematically very similar… but not to the point of being repetitive. The main difference here is that ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ plays into being a genre movie more than Zodiac… which really tried to replicate real life. That isn’t to say that this film is over-the-top or unconvincing, I actually think that the tone is one of the best aspects of the film. Everything is played straight and meant to feel real, which works to counterbalance some of the more theatrical elements that are inherent to the plot.
The film approaches the mystery from a very clinical perspective. We follow Daniel Craig’s character as he is trying to solve the case and it was utterly riveting. David Fincher has this way of focusing on the specifics of the case and showing how someone would go about solving it, that you become engrossed into every minute detail that is brought up during the film. I will admit that at certain points I got a little lost because there is just so much that is going on in terms of the investigation and the possible suspects… and yet I didn’t feel overwhelmed or frustrated because David Fincher has a way of reassuring the audience that even if you don’t catch every detail, you will still be able to follow the story. It’s an incredible balancing act that not many filmmakers can pull off.
The acting in the film was universally great. Everyone delivers a fantastic performance. I was especially taken by Rooney Mara’s performances as Lisbeth Salander. She has this presence to her that you can’t help but be captivated by her in every scene that she is in. You really get a sense of how broken she is as a person and even though she is this larger-than-life character, you believe how vulnerable she is.
My one problem that I had with the film is that I think the pacing could’ve been tightened a little bit more in the second act. The film takes a long time before both Daniel Craig’s character and Rooney Mara’s character are working together on the same case. I think if those sequences were a little tighter, the film would’ve been more effective. That is a very minor criticism though… which I don’t think detracts much from quality of the film.