"Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" provides a thrilling experience

By Carolyn Williams

Writer

 

David Fincher’s new adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” quickly became a major hit this holiday season. “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is the first book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy that completely captured the attention of its worldwide audience. One of its taglines, “the feel-bad movie of Christmas,” sums it up well. This film is not for the faint of heart.

Rooney Mara (“The Social Network”) steals the show as the film’s eponymous heroine, Lisbeth Salander, while Daniel Craig (“Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace”) takes a break from espionage to back her up as mild-mannered journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The two spend the first hour of the movie living independent of one another, but when their paths inevitably intersect, the result is explosive.

Lisbeth, a taciturn, computer-hacking genius with a bad attitude, negligible social skills and a slightly shady job as a private researcher, is, among other things, a ward of the state. Her old, beloved guardian suffers a heart attack and she abruptly finds herself placed under the eye of Nils Bjurman, who proceeds to curb her independence and ultimately rape her. Lisbeth is no wilting flower, however, and she strikes back with calculated vengeance, brutally exacting her revenge in the manner her unique moral code dictates.

Meanwhile, Blomkvist finds himself financially insoluble after trying to take down mobster Hans-Erik Wennerström, and is coerced into taking on a private investigation from aged business mogul Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer “The Last Station,” “Beginners”). For months, Blomkvist is entertained on the desolately beautiful island belonging to the sprawling Vanger clan. Most notable among this pool of suspects is Martin Vanger (Stellan Skarsgård, “Mama Mia,” “Good Will Hunting”), who succeeded Henrik as CEO of the family business and successfully personifies Larsson’s character’s chillingly cool composure.

Blomkvist and Salander’s paths coincide when he finds a lead in the long-cold investigation and needs the help of a research assistant. This is where things become interesting; Fincher capitalizes on every one of Larsson’s nerve-wracking plot twists and suspenseful moments, making the three-hour movie seem much shorter.

Filmgoers should not take this R rating lightly, as scenes of graphic violence play heavily throughout. Yet despite its violence, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is a genuinely powerful film, with Mara already nominated for a Golden Globe.

While it seems as if half the world has already read the book, Fincher’s film manages to scare us all over again, and in the best possible way. “‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ was a great, action-packed, unpredictable movie. I definitely recommend it,” Lauren DelloStritto ’14 said. Whether you know what’s going to happen between Mara and the irreproachable Craig or not, this heart-stopping and well-executed thriller is not to be missed.

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