The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Best movies of 2011, pick 8
David Fincher’s update of the best selling Larsson book is essentially two movies for the price of one. The first is a breathtaking credit sequence where snippets of Nordic mythological dragons morph with Terminator styled liquid shape-shifters. Punctuated by a Trent Reznor’s cover of Led Zeppelin’s, Immigrant Song, Fincher might well consider entry into the short film category as the ticket price justifies this monochrome sequence alone. Like the Joy Division cover resonating in the helicopter sequence in Michael Mann’s Heat, this sequence will become a Youtube favorite.
In June 2011, we brought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sneak preview to you and now for the real review…
Fincher’s update is a loyal transition from book to screen and then to the screen again. When disgraced journalist Blomkvist is hired by a wealthy tycoon to investigate his niece’s suspected murder, 40 years ago, he opens a Pandora’s box of family secrets revealing traces of Nazism, incest and serial killing. Assisted by the fiery tattooed and pierced, Lisbeth Salander, the narrative weaves several plots together culminating in a Panic Room meets China Town climax. The result is a gripping genre film, which echoes all of Fincher’s hallmarks glimpsed in Seven, Panic Room and Zodiac.
Daniel Craig is a decent Blomkvist but it was always going to fall to his fervid research assistant Salander (Rooney Mara) to steal the show. Harboring issues and unwilling to vocalize her feelings, Salander skips her state sponsored therapy sessions as she unleashes her vengeance in a series of well choreographed viral hacks, S and M torture sequences and financial fraud. Even then does she barely purge her demons; to do so would spell a premature end to the Millennium trilogy.
Highly sexual and blessed with an IQ of the Richter scale, the love making scenes with her and Craig release some of the tension built up over the investigation as evidence of rape and murder comes to light. Having suffered abuse and degradation from male chauvinists assigned to protect her; it is with meticulous satisfaction we align with her as she takes her well-calculated revenge.
The case of the missing Vanger girl plots itself with red herring twists that had every metro commuter around every European capital astonished. As the various sub plots close and Harriet’s brother, Martin exhibits his sadistic torture chamber, the narrative allows us to breathe as Harriet is once again reunited with her paternalistic uncle.
The wealthy family with its share of secrets is similar to themes expressed in the Dogma film, Festen. It is left to Blomkvist to unearth some shameful family characteristics.
This is a highly stylized lengthy thriller, which plots simultaneous journeys in an attack on a conservative establishment. Powerful performances, a tight script shot over frozen landscapes; this was always going to be highly anticipated. We here at Pinstripe Magazine are pleased to report, it does not disappoint.
Check out another must see movie review, Kill List: Best movies of 2011, pick 7