JT Film Review

131 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo REVIEW

4.5/5 stars

Director – David Fincher

Cast – Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christophe Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright


Well, I’m on the Fincher bandwagon I guess.

The Girl with the Dragan Tattoo is based on the first of the Millenium trilogy of novels, written by Steve Zaillian. It stars Daniel Craig as investigative reporter, and Rooney Mara as the titular character, the iconic Lisbeth Salander, whose many skills include investigation and various form of computer wizardry. Christopher Plummer is an elderly man who wants Craig, fresh off of a devastating libel suit, to seek out his daughter’s murderer. Oh, and the murder happened 50 years ago…

The list of suspects is composed of all the people who were on the family island at the time, mainly family. This adds a disturbing layer. Plummer seems to have a nonchalant hatred for most of his clan, of whom he seems to be the oldest surviving member. One of his brothers drowned years ago, and another lives in a house up on an old hill. He is called a recluse, but isn’t too fond of the term. Interestingly, both brothers are/were Nazis.

The investigation starts with names and pictures on papers spread over a wall. To aid in his investigation, Craig calls in the help of Salander. They both dig through documents, interview people, all that jazz. Frankly, we’ve seen all that before, but never with a character so intriguing as Salander. That is not to discount the other characters in the movie, who for the most part are fleshed out fairly well (and acted even better), but this movie is about Salander, there can be no doubt about it.

And Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander is wonderful. Comparisons are sure to be made between her performance and Noomi Rapace’s performance in the Swedish original; as I haven’t seen it I am not the one to make them, but I loved her in the role. She is withdrawn and angry, but knows exactly how to play the subtext of the character, her desire for friendship and understanding. It is a fairly complex character, I think too many people pigeonhole her as just some kick ass punk chick. Craig and Plummer are certainly well cast in their roles as well, though Craig always has a calm coolness about him that maybe works against him here.

The movie is slowly paced, and has a moody richness to it that is almost addicting. The plot is dense and always moving, and if I had any complaint it would be that it is perhaps a bit too confusing. At least a couple times throughout the movie there are moments where Craig zooms in on a photograph, raises his eyebrows, and has a moment of realization. Both times I didn`t know what the heck he saw that was so important, and once I actually asked the person with whom I was seeing the movie what was going on. However, both times they do reiterate what he saw, so that was good. But a bit more clarity would have been great. It is a 2 hour and 38 minute long movie, surely they could have taken a beat longer to explain.

Actually, perhaps an even bigger complaint would be the rushed way in which they explain the main mystery of the film. We understand who did what, but we never even briefly are told why the crimes are committed. There is a family connection to the crimes, and an almost Chinatown element emerges. But no motives are ever explained. I would have liked them to be.

But, all-in-all I think the best way to describe my feelings about this movie is to mention this; I remember thinking at the climax that I wouldn`t mind there being another 2 hours to go. I can`t remember another recent movie about which I could say that, and several that I would have said the opposite.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a wonderfully moody thriller/mystery, with excellent cast. I hope Fincher does do the sequels, this is a world I would love to visit again.


“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia




December 24, 2011 - Posted by | 4.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Thriller, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. It’s certainly worth seeing if you missed the original. If you saw it, however, there’s no way of unseeing it, and nothing in the new one to top it. Craig and Mara are great here though and Fincher brings so much more to this film like I was expecting too. Good review. Check out mine when you can.

    Comment by CMrok93 | December 26, 2011 | Reply

  2. I definitely want to see the original. Of course there are arguments to be made about “Why did we need this remade?” etc., but I’m glad if it had to be done at lest it was done well.

    Comment by jamesturpin | December 26, 2011 | Reply

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