Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

It's a little late I honestly should have posted this one over the Christmas holiday but I'm gonna sound like a broken record again, yeah I was busy with stuff. I flew down to N.C. to see the family for a week got my nog and bourbon on. Got my fill of the Christmas tree and my Mom's eclectic taste in candy. It's the good kind mind you but some of it is pretty odd, like these weirdly packaged chocolates from Belgium. She also got those Harry Potter every flavor beans, and yes they actually have a vomit flavored one, I tried it and it almost made me gag. Anyway saw some family and old friends and finally later in the week I was allowed to sneak off to see this flick with one of my best friends from home. Of course he had seen the original Swedish films and read the books. I having no such information under my belt went in completely blind. Now my friend was a bit of a skeptic to the whole thing because, as I said before, he has read the books and seen the original films. So he was trying desperately to not reveal things to me while at the same time was not so subtlety telling me everything. I was able to tune out most of it before the start of the first reel.
Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), a Swedish journalist, is in pretty deep shit. He is being hit with a libel suit from a shady businessman and he just got smacked down by the Swedish courts. He's looking at some jail time and some hefty fees. In order to make ends meet he finds himself knee deep into a private investigation for a wealthy baron of industry, Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), who has asked the journalist to help him solve a mystery that has plagued him for over 40 years. Every year on his birthday his Niece, Harriet, would send him pressed flowers in a frame. After her disappearance the flowers kept coming, almost mocking Vanger every year. Blomkvist begins to dig into Vanger's family and finds the lot of them to be despicable, contemptible people with very little saving graces. He hires a mysterious computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) as his assistant researcher in the case. This is a damaged woman, she has almost no social graces, she's been in the system as a orphan she's experienced every setback a child with no parents can endure, not to mention she looks like a Goth girl with the grit of Sarah Connor.
Director David Fincher did an incredible job adapting this story for American audiences. I admit I'm one of those that shudder when we take a movie from overseas that has come out recently and try to adapt it. There are some occasions where it works like Let Me In (re-make of Let the Right One In), but most of the time they end up like the countless mindless shit films like No Reservations, that cooking movie with Catherine Zeta Jones. Thankfully for all of us it's got the heart that Let Me In brought. It's gorgeously filmed and wonderfully acted. I don't know much about Rooney Mara, I only saw her briefly in the Social Network, but damn she is a unique one. Her character is both fragile and strong all at once and she plays that part effortlessly. She's oddly disturbing and sexy at the same time. And I usually am not one to find tattoos and piercings to be in any way attractive, and I still don't. But for some reason she truly pulled it off.
As my friend pointed out to me after the film there were some pretty big changes from the book so a word of warning to those die hard fans, this movie is not word for word with the book so you can either accept that or don't waste your time. If you were to miss it though you would be missing one of the best films of the year. Yes it's disturbing in a way that only David Fincher can. Yes it's a little long and there is quite a lot of character and story but it is superior to many of the films out there now and it's worth every frame. It's a winding mystery with a few twists and turns and quite frankly you'll never listen to Enya the same way again. Trust me that scene was painful to watch, what is it with Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) and torture scenes.  This flick should rack up a few oscar nods and Fincher should be awarded the prize that he was snubbed for last year. I doubt he'll get it this time but damnit if he didn't go right out there and make himself worthy again for a second straight year.
Grade: 4 Buckets

1 comment:

Captain Mike said...

This one was good. I just watched the (also very good) Swedish version for comparison, and ended up liking Fincher's take better. Obviously, he had more money to play with, but I also think he's just a better director than his Scandinavian predecessor. I had some quibbles (it turns into a completely different, but still entertaining, movie for the last 20 minutes), but they are minor.

And yeah, that Enya song. Just like I'll never hear Tom Petty's "American Girl" without associating it with the abduction scene in "Silence of the Lambs," I will never hear "Orinoco Flow" without an icky feeling ever again. Thanks, Fincher.