A blog about general entertainment, fashion, and movies. And some random stuff too.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Movie Review: Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I went into this movie having not read the book, and also being slightly uninterested in seeing it. However, I knew there was immeasurable hype surround both the book and the movie, so I knew I needed to see it. I was excited to see what all the fuss was about and went in with an open mind.

The movie begins with what may seem like incredibly odd opening credits. As someone who knew nothing of the story and barely anything about the characters I was about to meet, the oddness had no context and so it didn't really work. As I left the movie, I remembered the opening and chuckled to myself because, even after knowing everything, it still seemed out of place. It may have worked better as part of the closing credits instead... who knows?

Rooney Mara was awesome. For me, she was absolutely the best part of the entire movie. I read somewhere that she is "the next Kristen Stewart" which is too cruel a comparison to be real. Rooney is much more dynamic, talented, genuine, and explosive as an actress than Stewart could ever hope to be, but the hype that statement was meant to express is true. Rooney certainly proved that she should be the next big thing. 

I also enjoyed Daniel Craig in this movie. He portrayed Blomkvist as likable and down-to-Earth. He was another part of the movie I really liked, which helped pull me through some of the stuff I did not. However, I did not enjoy a lot of the movie and all the reasons have to do with the choices Fincher made as the director, not the story itself or the acting. The film was uneven, unbalanced, and I felt a lot of it was choppy. For viewers who have read the books, it may seem different to you because you know what's coming and you know all the stuff that was left out, therefore, it may flow more easily for you. But for a viewer who has not read the books, not only did the story not flow, but the big reveal of the mystery and events stemming from that seemed anti-climactic.

Basically, the rest of the film never lived up to the intensity of the rape scene, which happened in the first 30 minutes, was exposition, and had hardly anything to do with the main story lineI feel like Fincher paid too much attention to that scene and less to others he should have highlighted. That scene was so powerful, so meticulous, and so obviously choreographed to the finest detail/camera angle/sound effect that it made me wonder why Fincher didn't spend that amount of effort on other, much more important events in the story. 

I wanted the rest of the movie to be that meticulous. I wanted the film to show me that amount of intensity and focus, but no other scene ever really did that. When the most fierce scene has already happened in the first 30 minutes, the rest of the movie doesn't pack a punch. Many people have said to me "Well, the rape scene is that intense because it's like the book" but my issue is not about being faithful to the book. My issue is that the way Fincher dealt with that scene is what made the rest of the movie unbalanced, in my opinion. Why spend so much time highlighting a piece of exposition, then later skimming over actual important plot points and events? 

It raised questions in my mind of what Fincher was thinking when he was editing and why he didn't think to allude to more and show less of the rape scene, so that later he'd have time to pay more attention to things that mattered more to the story. The same things could have been achieved for Lisbeth's character had he edited that scene down; I am not saying it should have been cut altogether.

OR if the climactic moment of this movie had been done with as much care as the rape scene, I probably would have no issue with it at all. I would have felt that the ending was satisfying and the movie more balanced. Either way, in order to fix this problem, one of the two things I've mentioned needs to have been changed. 

Overall, I would say that there was too much hype around this movie and not enough delivery. I think if I had read the book I may have enjoyed it more, but as a neutral viewer, the story fell flat with the way Fincher presented it. If you love the book, see it! If you like action mysteries, you may enjoy this movie. If you are neutral and don't care one way or another, don't waste your time. If you can't handle rape scenes, run far, far, far away. 


  1. I figured they would do that. I read the book, and let me tell you that the first third of the book was ALL exposition. I even skipped some of it and it didn't make one bit of difference. I figured that they would skip it in the movie, and throw you right into the rape scene without letting you get to know Lisbeth more. As far as the book, the ending was very anticlimactic and kind of let me down. I am going to try the next book, as I love Lisbeth and her kick ass attitude. I'm hoping this one will be better.

  2. I read all 3 of the books in this series and I definitely think it made a big difference in then watching the movie. After watching the movie, I commented that I was so glad I had read the book first or I would've been kindof lost watching the movie.

    The role casting and acting in this movie was brilliant. As to the rape scene, it was so very violent and traumatizing but also very necessary to portray what Lizbeths life had and continued to be like and why she is the way she is. The fact that she has been used and abused by men, basically her entire life has made her develop an almost robotic, non-emotional and untrusting person and one who relies on basic survival instincts. The fact that she was able to form a close emotional attachment to Daniel Craigs character after all that she had been through was very poignant.

    Some of the details from the book were left out, of course, but the book itself is so very detailed and complicated that this is to be expected when it is turned into movie form.

    So...my advice is to read the book first before seeing the movie and you will have a better understanding of the movie.

  3. Renee-

    Like I said, he never had to CUT the rape scene. I SAID it was important. It was the amount of TIME he spent on it while completely ignoring other, more important points that had to do with the main plot that is my problem.

    He could have gone from where she was hand-cuffed, to her waking up in binds and him coming towards her, cut to her getting dressed and limping home, and then finish with her in the shower. THAT would have been enough to show the horrific incident without spending so much time there. We get the point, feel the same thing, and understand Lisbeth's character; plus Fincher wouldn't have wasted his most climactic moment at the very beginning of the movie.

    I shouldn't HAVE to read the book in order to watch a movie. If that's the truth, then it's not a very good movie, and that's why it fell flat. It was, like I said, unbalanced and choppy. I stand firm on my ideas of how to fix those problems.

  4. interesting. people really seem focused on the rape scene, and i hardly thought it was a defining scene. just a far more emotionally in touch scene. the film rides on its emotional deviance, and the fact that the characters are mainly disaffected, saved for the surviving victims of the crime their solving. the opening credits i thought were kind of for shock value, to prepare you for what you were about to see, because the essence of the movie is something many are having trouble dealing with.