In David Fincher’s adaptation of Steig Larsson’s international best seller, the novel is brought to life in one of the most entertaining and visual movies this year. Fincher, director of two of my favorite movies ever, Fight Club and Seven, as well as the excellent The Social Network is at the helm and I could not have been happier with his work. If you don’t already know, the novel revolves around a Swedish Journalist Mikael Blomkvit, played by Daniel Craig, who is hired by one of the wealthiest Swedish families to investigate the 40 year old disappearance of a woman. The movie does an excellent job following the book and provides a complete story. At almost 3 hours, the movie should. But at no point in the 158 minute film do you get bored or lose track of the story. The film moves with a good and deliberate pace even throwing in a joke here and there. Though shunned by some of the award groups, I felt TGWTDT was one of the most if not the most entertaining films of the year. The story had drama, mystery and action. Like any novel adaption the progression of certain details gets a little lost and part of the investigation is rushed but Fincher does an overall good job of tying it all together. If I were to come up with a criticism it would be that Fincher seems to shy away from the revered Vanguard family. The presentation of the wealthy family made up of quarreling siblings, anti-Semitic Nazis and creepy cousins seems a little rushed. I would have enjoyed a little bit more of how messed up this family really is. However, given the already lengthy time of the film, I think Fincher did an excellent job. I enjoyed Craig in the role of the journalist but did feel at times he simply took a back seat to Mara (read ahead). I didn’t love his performance but definitely did not have any major issues with it either.
But the truth is that when you walk about this film the person you will be thinking about is new-comer Rooney Mara (she also played the girl dumping Jesse Eisenberg's Mark Zuckerberg in the opening scene of The Social Network). Mara is astonishing as Lisbeth Salander, the pierced, bisexual, tattooed twentysomething hacker who teams up with Mikael Blomkvist to unearth the mystery of the woman’s disappearance. Mara bares it all in more ways than one. Stealing every scene she is in, Mara’s Lisbeth is simply riveting. She is a character you just want to know everything about. Lisbeth is quite the complicated character, rejecting society, being cast out as a “ward of the state” and yet seeking companionship and acceptance. I found her character one of the most interesting film personalities of the last few years.
The film is extremely graphic and not for the faint of heart. The film includes a rather lengthy and completely graphic rape scene, as well as numerous instances of nudity and sex. Thankfully, unlike other directors who allow these scenes to overrun the rest of the film, Fincher uses the graphic nature of the film to help and enhance his story.
Sex: If you care to read this then don’t see the movie.
Language: Lots of strong profanity, including f-words and s-words and etc
Violence: Very graphic pictures and violence
Drugs and Drinking: Plenty of drinking and some drugs
Length: 1 hr 58 min.
Rating: 4 Stars