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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
DVD + Blu-ray + Digital + Ultraviolet | Box Set
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Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) accepts an invitation to surreptitiously investigate a forty year old unsolved murder on behalf of the victim's uncle, Swedish industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). Meanwhile, tattooed hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), hired to investigate Blomkvist, discovers the truth behind the conspiracy that led to his fall from grace. Thrown together by fate, the unlikely duo uncovers a secret history of murder and sexual abuse festering beneath the veneer of Sweden's industrial past, all the while drawing closer to a quiet evil waiting to engulf them both.
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If story starts and ends with characters, then actors play a vital role in the success of a film. If we accept that premise, then Dragon Tattoo is a huge success. Rooney Mara deserves all the credit in the world for this performance. I had previously thought that Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn was the only choice for the Best Actress Oscar, but Ms. Mara has made me realize that she is an actress to watch going forward. Every choice she makes never betrays the character. I also think that's why the film needs the violence and brutality it has.
At no point are any of the scenes gratuitous. Yes, they may be uncomfortable for some, but in no way should they be done without. In fact, without them, the character of Lisbeth Salander comes across as unrealistic and two-dimensional. If movies are in fact to invoke the senses, which is in turn vital to any visceral experience with watching a movie, then the audience is in the best place to understand the character, which means they are in the best place for understanding the story.
As I said before, David Fincher is born to direct these kinds of films. Every clue we the audience need is available (like in Se7en). He plays no cheap tricks, yet he doesn't offer up the clues easily. If ever there were a movie that required you to be an active audience member, this is it.
Don't even get me started with the technical aspects. The cinematography is beautiful and the editing... let's just say there's a reason it won the Oscar. Rarely have I been more confused, horrified, and moved by a movie, all the while loving every minute of it.
This is definitely David Fincher's best work since Zodiac or Fight Club. The Social Network may have gotten all the attention the year before, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo deserved all it got and more.
I certainly hope we get the follow-ups, with director and appropriate cast intact.