The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Greg Says: Sex, violence, and a great mystery

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Rating: 8/10
Date: 9 January 2012
Recommendation: Wait for the instant download
Helpful: 1 out of 5 found this helpful.

Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig, “Cowboys and Aliens”) is a journalist for the independent London magazine “Millennium.” He has just lost a libel case where he exposed a Madoff-like villain, but could not prove his facts without revealing his sources. He is about to lose his life savings and his magazine.

Meanwhile, Swedish multimillionaire Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plumber, “Priest”) has hired a leather-clad, pierced, tattooed young woman (Lisbeth Salander played by Rooney Mara, “The Social Network”) to investigate Blomkvist using her internet uber-hacking-powers. Vanger has a mystery he needs solving: His niece has gone missing and presumed dead for forty years. However, he receives an anonymous gift from her that only she would send. He wants Blomkvist to find out who is sending the gifts.

But Blomkvist cannot do it alone; he needs the help of the very person who did his background investigation – Lisbeth. Now, it is up to him and his unlikely companion to uncover the coldest of cold cases. And we’re offÂ…

I’ve never read the 800-page tome (by Stieg Larson) that inspired this movie, but I did see the original Scandinavian version. The Hollywood version is every bit as good as the original, and then some. The first difference is the amazingly complicated and detailed CGI opening credits. I felt as though I was watching a Bond movie intro. The other big difference is the longish aftermath. The ending goes into a good bit of detail about what happens to our characters after the thrilling climax. I have to say I enjoyed both additions.

I do have one complaint: The original film made Lisbeth appear to be the aggressor in her relationship with Blomkvist. She even appears to have manipulated him. This new version has changed that relationship. I preferred the original ending. Sadly, I cannot say which is more true to Larson’s novel.

The plot had the potential to be incredibly complex. It involved at least a dozen members of Vanger’s family. On top of that we had to constantly switch between 1960’s Vanger-family and current-day Vanger- family. However, the director (David Fincher, “The Social Network”) had Blomkvist post a family tree on his cabin wall with pictures of old- family and current-family. It was a very nice device which allowed the audience to keep all the players straight.

I have heard that some people thought the depiction of sexual violence was gratuitous. The rape scenes were not easy to watch. However, they were certainly no worse than the original Scandinavian version. I think there is no good way to portray rape. Panning to curtains blowing in an open window doesn’t do justice to the violation of the victim. Whereas showing the details of the act may, by some, be seen as titillating. I felt that the director had the balance right. It was clear our victim was being hurt in a most personal way, without exploiting the act for entertainment. This was most clearly demonstrated as we saw the victim in the shower later that night with cuts and bruises over a third of her body. If any movie-goer experienced voyeuristic pleasure in the rape scene, then it should have been snuffed-out by the shower scene.

The movie clocked-in at about 2 hours and 40 minutes. And while it was longer than most movies, it didn’t disappoint. The mystery, action, and unfolding lives of the protagonists made the time slip by. However, there is no good reason to rush out and see this movie in the theaters. In fact, it is a good one to curl up on the sofa with someone you find dear. So, for a good retelling of a now-classic tale, but a bit on the longish side, I recommend you wait for the instant download.