Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

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Remakes are something I always have a bad feeling about. I am cautiously optimistic if trailers look good, even though the entire thing can go to shit. A lot of remakes actually do go to shit… like Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes” remake. There are a few remakes that I like though, such as “Godzilla” (2014) and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. And if you’re wondering about my thoughts on the “RoboCop” remake then I can tell you that it wasn’t bad… just a little boring. Anyway, today we are taking a look at a remake I was not positive about since it is based on source material coming from my home country, Sweden. I was also afraid that they could never get as good as the original Swedish movies. I was not optimistic about it at all… until I a few years later saw that it was directed by David Fincher (“Fight Club”, “Se7en”) who is a director I really like. Then I got a little hope. And now we are talking about it on my blog… oh yes.

Girls and boys… “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

I can’t compare story on this and the original movie because it is basically the same story, so I know it will be good. Here is the basic story: Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) got some legal problems. So then after those problems have erupted and taken to court he is for some reason hired by rich person Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to find out what happened to his niece Harriett a long time ago. But Mikael doesn’t have to go through it alone since he gets help from mysterious hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). And dark, twisted, weird and interesting things happens after that. The idea of the story is one that I really find interesting because it shows the worst in human beings and what can drive people to do certain things. And how is the execution here? It is honestly pretty fucking good. I was really worried how Hollywood could take a Swedish story that got Swedish characters and is set in Sweden and make it at least decent. But Fincher once again proves that he knows what he is doing with his directing skills. The exectuion here didn’t feel sloppy or forced in any way, it just (surprisingly) worked. There were a few details that were changed, but nothing too major. So the execution was overall good.

The characters stay true to how they were in the books and original movies. They all have their little issues that make them unique and they are portrayed well here. I was especially impressed with how great Rooney Mara was as Lisbeth. Sure she is no Noomi Rapace, but she definitely gets the job done. The only problem character/acting based in this movie was how some people had stupid accents while some sounded like they should. Case in point: Daniel Cragi sounds like Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara got a weird accent going. It is nothing really game-breaking in this movie, but it just sounds a little weird.

The soundtrack by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor was dark, chilling, depressing and overall fantastic. It really helped set the mood of the movie (dark, creepy, tense, depressing, cold, isolated). And when it comes to the music I have to touch on the brilliant selection of song for the opening credits. Especially since David Fincher movies usually have opening credits with good/fitting songs. And in this case the song is a very dark and weird cover of “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. I really think it worked to the movie’s advantage and really helped set the mood for it early.

Back on the topic of the opening credits, the song is great, the visuals are trippy and awesome and the opening credits are in general great. But I shouldn’t expect anything less from a David Fincher movie. And with that said, the camera work in this movie is fan-fucking-tastic! David Fincher is pretty much the king of making good looking movies with a dark and dirty tone. Also, fun fact: This movie was actually shot in Sweden just so they could get everything right. Good job, people!

Now ow did this movie do among people and critics? Well it actually did pretty good. On Rotten Tomaotes it got an 86% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a 71/100. Roger Ebert really seemed to like it since he gave it 3,5/4 stars (his score for the original movie was 4/4 stars if you’re wondering). On imdb.com this movie has a 7,9/10. It also won 1 Oscar for Best Film Editing. But it also had an additional 4 nominations; Best Leading actress, Best cinematography, Best sound mixing, Best sound editing.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a remake that actually works and doesn’t buthcer the source material. It also got great performances, a good soundtrack and is directed with extreme care. Time for the final score. My final score for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a 9,01/10. I really feel like this movie could have been better so it doesn’t get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”, but it is definitely worth buying.

Review of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is now done.

I was seriously ready to hate on this movie.

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

  1. I’m still not totally sold on this movie. Granted, I watched it when it first came out and really liked it, but the more that I think about it, I wish that Fincher tried something a little more daring. Good review.

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