I need to be upfront and honest about David Fincher’s new film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film, in every aspect, is truly brilliant but it is also contains the most graphic scene I have had the displeasure of watching. That being said, this film is a masterpiece. The official running time of the film is two hours and forty minutes but don’t let that scare you away from the theater. The time flew by and when the end credits rolled, I couldn’t believe the film was already over.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a film that worked its way into my head and refused to leave. In the week since I have seen it, I often find that my wandering mind settles on the film. Try as I might, I can’t find a hole or an issue with the film beyond the graphic nature of some of its scenes. There is no weak link in the acting and David Fincher expertly applies his directing skills to every and any aspect he could get his hands on. This film is certainly not the first that the world has heard of Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The film began as a novel, the first installment of a trilogy written by Stieg Larsson. The first film adaptation of the novel was a Swedish film of the same name, released in 2009 and now Fincher has given America its own version of the film. Currently, I have not read the book (but it is now on my list) so the film was my first introduction to the riveting storyline. Mystery, murder and sex weave together seamlessly to create a complicated net of a plot that engages the audience. The credit for that storyline goes to Larsson but Fincher and company do a great job adapting a complicated plot for the film.
The film boasts a talented cast including Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard and Robin Wright but in my opinion, two people in particular steal the show. The first is the man who brought his vision of the novel to life, director David Fincher and the second, the woman portraying the girl with the dragon tattoo: Rooney Mara. David Fincher has quite the impressive track record to prove his directorial skills, including Fight Club, Se7en and The Social Network, and now, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is one of his best. Every little detail of the film, from the music, to the cuts, to the scenery weaves together to built incredible suspense and emotion. Fincher commands the tone of the film with sound and music choice. Throughout the film, background noises are louder than they should be until the very, final scene when Fincher builds tremendous suspense by simply removing background sound.
Fincher even uses sound to further describe Rooney Mara’s character, Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth is an anger riddled, black and leather clad, tough as nails young woman who has fended for herself for years. In every scene involving Lisbeth, the sound of creaking leather fills the ears of the audience. When Lisbeth moves her arms, her leather jacket creaks; when she moves her legs her leather pants creak. Even when she moves her neck, the sound of creaking leather can be heard because down to her core, Lisbeth is leather. She is hard, rough and nearly unbreakable. Ironically, the actress that brings this badass to life is the skinny, shy, even fragile looking Mara Rooney. This is not Rooney’s first appearance on the big screen, appearing in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Social Network. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen of her, it is certainly her most impressive role and one of the best performances of the year. Not only will Rooney be getting Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her performance and from what I’ve seen of the nominees so far, Rooney deserves to win them both.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo should make waves come awards time; especially in the categories of Best Director and Best Actress. The film itself is brilliant but I must reiterate the graphic nature of certain scenes. Fincher holds nothing back and does not shield the audience from the violence that occurs or the two horrific rape scenes that Lisabeth is forced to endure. If you can stomach graphic violence or have no problem closing your eyes during a film, I would recommend you make time to see this one in theaters. I give the film a 9.5 out of 10 and will be curious to see how it fares come awards season.