The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) – Film Review

I pulled this film out of the DVD cupboard for the first time in ages. It has to be one of my favourite book to film adaptations as the film truly brings the pages to life. Daniel Craig plays the shamed libellous journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who after losing a lot of money for falsely accusing a large organisation is hired by Henrik Vanger, played by Christopher Plummer, to solve a family mystery that pulls Blomkvist into a world of murderers, madmen and Nazis. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander (played fantastically well by Rooney Mara) is hired by the Vanger Corporation to investigate Blomkvist. She is enigmatic and weird, she has been deemed insane and unfit to take care of herself, but as we start to see, she has an unorthodox way of dealing with her problems. The pair eventually meet and work together to find the missing Harriet Vanger.

After seeing the success of the Swedish version of the Dragon Tattoo films, I remember doubting whether this film could live up to the same standard. After all, Noomi Rapace has been,and always will be,Lisbeth Salander. There can be no credit taken from Rooney Mara though, she absorbed herself into the role, she not only looked convincing, but played more into the innocent girl striking out rather than an all out psycho. She did well as there were many scenes of sexual violence that her character gets embroiled in, and many nude scenes too. She positively threw herself at this character, which makes it all the more believable. Daniel Craig was also a good Blomkvist figure, as he played the wronged man most of the way through and well as the smart investigative journalist who has almost a Sherlock Holmes approach to solving the crime. There was quite a well-known cast with Stellan Skarsgård, Geraldine James, Steven Berkoff and Joely Richardson all starring and performing convincingly.

Even if you have not read the books the plot itself is very intriguing. The mystery of missing Harriet Vanger has not been solved for over 40 years so the pair of investigators must trawl through archives and photos to find what they need. Although its not as boring as it sounds. The mystery is somewhat complicated to decipher and the plot keeps moving with fresh information throughout, we never get stuck looking at the same clue for too long. The investigation intertwines with Lisbeth’s own story. Without giving too much away she has an unhealthy relationship with her care worker. We witness perhaps the most brutal yet satisfying form vengeance that you won’t see anywhere else. Translated perfectly out of the novels, you may have a small cheer like I did during that scene!

Is there anything wrong with the film? It is long I guess, although I didn’t really notice that considering so much actually happens. There are a lot of names, places and people to remember as there is a large family to remember as well as lots of characters with complicated Swedish names. It’s not for the faint hearted either, it is rated 18 for a reason.

Overall, a very good intriguing film. I should also be recommending Stieg Larson’s books as well, a fantastic trilogy to get into. My only advice: pay attention! Some may get lost in the plot, so keep track of who’s who throughout. But at the same time don’t let this put you off.

One of my favourites, could watch again and again:

4.5/5

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