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U.S. 'Dragon Tattoo' Makes Terrific Thriller

The English-language version of Stiegg Larsson's 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' novel proves just as strong as the Swedish version.

This week, I’ve decided to look at the film that received five Oscar nominations this year, including one for Best Actress...The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I’ve and to quote myself from that December 21, 2010 review, “…The gloomy, mysterious look and mood of this film are really what makes it stand out as a top-notch thriller…The American version will have a tough time topping the harsh reality this Swedish film captures in spades.” 

Well, my predictions here were mostly incorrect.  The David Fincher film is a great film…which stands on its own from its Swedish cousin.  But, where I mostly got it wrong was that the English version knocks the visual “reality” out of the park. 

Where the Swedish film was “gloomy and mysterious,” this film is much more stylized and filled with jolts and jolts of hyper-energy…from start to finish.  The opening credits alone are a wild ride of James Bond-esque, heart-pumping graphic displays in a mind-numbing pace.  This is a modern, 21st century thriller directed by one of the most ambitious, visionary directors of our day.  Fincher did a truly fantastic job of taking Larsson’s novel and pumping even more life and more visual style and more edge into it. 

This film is a visual triumph, which is why I would have loved for it to have won its four Oscar nominations for technical achievement (Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing).  Alas, it only won for Film Editing. 

But the Best Actress nomination was the one I had trouble getting my head around.  Rooney Mara does a great job with anti-social, anti-feminine, anti-everything Lizbeth Salander. 

But, after watching her performance, I realized what a tremendously visceral performance Noomi Rapace gave in the Swedish film…for which she got no Oscar consideration (or Golden Globes or SAG noms either).  So, did Mara deserve that honor, when she was the lesser of two performances, in my opinion?  Well, one way to look at it is that Mara’s nomination honored the character of Salander…a character that Rapace created on film first.  So, in turn, Mara’s nomination encompassed both performances.  I doubt Noomi Rapace would see it that way, though. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 2011, rated R, 158 minutes, directed by David Fincher, starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard, and Joely Richardson.  The Niles Public Library owns this film on DVD.

Arne Asada March 22, 2012 at 06:28 PM
David Fincher is a movie God.

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