Monday, February 20, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Running Time: 158 minutes
Nominations: 5 (Best Actress: Rooney Mara; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing; Best Sound Mixing; Best Sound Editing)
Availability in the US: Now in Theatres
MPAA: Rated R for brutal violent content including rape and torture, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, and language

Based on one of the most talked-about books of the decade, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) as he tries to figure out what happened to a girl who has been missing for 40 years. He is aided by a tattooed and pierced young computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) who has her own motives for wanting to solve the case.

The role of Salander was highly coveted throughout Hollywood, and there was even some discussion of Noomi Rapace, who played the role in the original Swedish version of the film, reprising the role. Ultimately Mara, a relative unknown, was cast in the role. The filmmakers could not have made a better choice. Mara transformed herself for the role, getting multiple ear, eyebrow, and nipple piercings, and she bares a lot more than her body in the film. Salander's character experiences an emotional rollercoaster from physical and sexual assaults, to the illness of her close friend/guardian, to the disturbing details of the unfolding mystery.

Fans of the book series and the original Swedish films were concerned about a Hollywood adaptation, but David Fincher's adaptation lives up to, and at times surpasses, the original film. I am often quite wary of my favorite books' film adaptations, yet I very much enjoyed this take on Steig Larsson's tale, and even look forward to the next two books being adapted. Craig and Mara are a big part of what makes this version so excellent. In any other year, I might be tempted to predict a win for Mara in this category—and with two more movies potentially on the way, this role may yet yield her an Oscar— but the competition this year is just too strong. The film's best chances at Oscars are probably in the two sound categories, but it could be a strong contender for Best Film Editing as well.

Grade: A

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