Thursday, January 19, 2012

Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


An old man approaches a journalist to uncover a 40 year old mystery. The man accepts the assignment and soon enlists an unlikely assistant. The assistant is unique as she is a ward of the state with very bad social skills but with an intelligent mind. I have read Steig Larsson's novel with the same title. I knew the story of Mikael Blomkvist(Daniel Craig) and Lisbeth Salander(Rooney Mara). Hence I was curious. How can a Hollywood studio adapt a novel based on prejudice and violence against women depicting rape, bondage & incest with a director(David Fincher) who is an expert instilling fear in us showing the dark side of human nature without compromising the story? The short answer is they can never do a good job.

David Fincher succeeds only on two counts - to showcase the brutality in the novel and the casting of Salander.  He fails to translate the passion to the screen. Blomkvist is not a ladies man as depicted in the novel. But the chemistry between Blomkvist and Salander is left to imagination. So is the unusual relationship between Blomkvist and Erika Berger. The story moves on two tracks - one dealing with Blomkvist and the other with Salander. The two tracks merge in the second act. While the transitions between two tracks are smooth and racy in the novel, the screen adaptation is slow and torturous. Even the tricky camera angles employed do not help to speed up events. On top of this, the background score is barely noticeable which acts against to movie and makes it slower than it is. The lack of background score is more pronounced as the movie starts loudly with the signature style credits roll by the director though this reminds you of a James Bond movie. The movie is also inconsistent in using accents as some of the characters speak with Swedish accent while the others do not.

Rooney Mara has a difficult role to play. It is difficult to find an actress that fits the Salander in the novel. She is the closest match you can get. What she lacks in physical appearance is compensated by the acting prowess. As a girl who does not trust anyone yet falls in love, Rooney Mara is perfect. Daniel Craig is limited in a badly adapted role. Moreover he is overshadowed by Salander in the beginning of the movie and the man responsible for the mystery at the end of the movie. It is only in the scene where Blomkvist meets Salander in person for the first time, Daniel Craig shows why he is cast in the role. Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard are good. But they have done similar roles before.

If you haven't read the novel, I advise you read it if you can stomach the violence. If you have read the novel, skip this one and pick the Swedish movie with the same title. It is a better movie. Does this adaptation has any significance? Yes, James Bond(Daniel Craig) on the receiving side. If you want to watch that, then this is the movie.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: **



10 comments:

  1. I haven't read the novel.
    Maybe I'll read that first.

    very well written review :)

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    1. It is better to read the novel and skip the movie. Thanks for dropping by.

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  2. I had seen the Swedish movie. Had liked that one. Was shown on one of the TV channels last year I guess.

    Somehow, with Daniel Craig, I don't see James Bond always. Had that problem with Pierce Brosnan. Well not a problem actually since I liked him as JB!

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    1. Daniel Craig is a very good actor. I also like him. But as Blomkvist, he has nothing much to do.

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  3. Hmmm... now you have got me confused. I liked the book, and was looking forward to the movie.

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    1. Go for the Swedish movie with subtitles. That is more true to the novel.

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  4. Interesting Review. I read the novels, but haven't watched the movies.

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    1. I loved the trilogy too. I don't recommend the movie though.

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