Student review ­— The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

By John Doe

Film adaptation sells story short

Student review by George Larkins, contributing reporter


In David Fincher’s ninth directed feature film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” audiences are rewarded with the best and worst from one of the top Directors of our time.

The film is part one of a trilogy based on the best-selling book series by author Stieg Larsson.

Billed as, “The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas,” Fincher’s film delivers murder, rape, corruption, violence and adultery all stuffed in a forty year unsolved mystery stocking.

Intriguing characters

Perhaps even more intriguing than the mystery plot is the interaction of the primary characters Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), the titles namesake, and Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), a middle aged discredited journalist.

An unlikely pair, they are opposites in Sweden’s social spectrum. Combining Mikael’s investigative journalism and Lisbeth’s cyber sleuth skillset they are drawn together through the magnetic force of the internet age.

The resulting consequence is a series of tension filled sequences that keeps audiences polarized and guessing.

Music enhances visuals

The harrowing film score created by Trent Reznor of “Nine Inch Nails” in collaboration with Atticus Ross sets an oppressive mood.

Reznor and Ross create a sound-image that gets under your skin as a haunting undercurrent.

Having both worked with Fincher on “The Social Network”, they are unquestionably the latest rising dark stars in sound design.

The emphasis on editing rhythm builds a level of awareness and expectation that is shattered by the use of unexpected devices and unique instruments.

Violence vs. suspense

Fincher, who is no stranger to excess violence and gore (as witnessed in his other films, “Fight Club” and  “Se7en”) has matured in providing some restraint in graphic portrayal and relying instead on building meaningful suspense.

When he does deliver the goods, it is with a one-two punch that leaves the audience reeling from shock and disgust.

The girl

The protagonist Lisbeth Salandar (Mara Roony) remains an enigma throughout the film. The most insight we are given to her non-conformist anarchy comes from the techno-oozing ink stained title sequence.

Presumably, this nightmare dreamscape depicts the inner workings of the dragon girls mind and impenetrable recesses of her hard shell exterior.

Lisbeth is constantly backed into a corner, and after much dehumanizing abuse, attacks and bites back with all the ferocity of a penned dragon.

Her resilience and exacting revenge elicited cheers from the audience seldom seen in modern placated spectators. The triumph she represents is not only for herself, but for all women everywhere who have suffered physical and sexual abuse.


Contact contributing reporter George Larkins via e-mail  at [email protected]