Words can seldom describe the fervor and articulate perfection David Fincher crafts the brutal, yet seemingly artful elegance of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Having worked my way through all of the Larsson novels as well as all of the original Swedish films I can say with a certain, hodgepodge degree of certainty that the Fincher/Steven Zaillian adaptation not only does the books the justice that the original films did not quite grasp entirely, but also adds a new sheen of eloquent viciousness that is the whole of the story.
First thing’s first, actress Rooney Mara is not only so engrossed in her role she disappears completely, but her dedication to the reality of the story (expressed even further by the direction of Fincher, the screenwriting of Zaillian, the camerawork of cinematography master Jeff Cronenweth, pacing by editors Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, and music by the pair themselves, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross) is so close to what you can envision getting to know the character through the pages of the dark book by Larsson.
As aforementioned, the pacing is tight and unbelievably crisp, never wasting a frame, nor a beat to capitalize on the awe and emotions of its audience. The acting by an ensemble cast of brilliant character actors including but not excluded to Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgård and Donald Sumpter, do nothing but support the overall mood of the production and the tour-de-force performance by Mara, whom we got a wonderfully memorable glimpse of in Fincher’s previous masterwork The Social Network, as Erica Albright.
The camerawork is some of the best I have seen in all of Fincher’s movies and everything complements each other so well, it lacks any drag that make one think they have just watched a 2-hour-38-minute film. The mystery elements are there and well stitched, the music couldn’t be more appropriate or well-scored, the brutal sequences in the film are given a substantial build-up and an exhilarating payoff, somehow even more effective than it was for me watching the original film. Somehow, it seems more in the like to Larsson’s novel than I even had predicted in the many months leading up to the release of the film.
And on top of the movie itself, the opening credits sequence, resembling as if he took the opening to Fight Club with a modern James Bond film, sets the mood perfectly for the whole of the film and stays locked in your brain long after the ending credits have stopped rolling.