Every once in a while you luck out and get the perfect marriage of artist and material. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as directed by David Fincher is that perfect marriage. Fincher has made a career out of dark subject matter (Zodiac, Fight Club, Se7en, Alien3) and things don’t get much darker than Stieg Larsson’s novel that the movie was based on.
At it’s heart, Dragon Tattoo is a classic locked-door mystery—a girl disappears from an island that has been closed off from the mainland, setting off a forty-year search for her murderer. Investigating the murder is disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (a very solid Daniel Craig) with the help of the socially dysfunctional Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara).
Almost immediately the investigation hurls the viewer into a whirlwind of Nazis, rape, abuse of power, corruption, incest, torture and murder; it plays like a David Fincher greatest hits album. In addition to his dark materials, Fincher has a reputation for drawing strong, intense performances from some of Hollywood’s best actors. Mara’s performance as Salander should put her on the short list for an Academy Award this season. She is nothing short of electrifying and totally owns the screen every time she’s on.
Go see it in the theaters and then buy it as soon as it hits video, you won’t regret it.