Monday, June 25, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

This English-language adaptation of the Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson follows a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), as he investigates the disappearance of a wealthy patriarch's (Vanger) niece (Harriet) from 40 years ago. He is aided by the pierced, tattooed, punk computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). As they work together in the investigation, Blomkvist and Salander uncover immense corruption beyond anything they have ever imagined.

Mystery is the main theme of the movie which it has successfully shown through the exciting scenes and the overall look of the film. The film was dark and cold - mysterious, and makes the viewer want know (assuming one has not read the book nor watched the Swedish film adaptation yet) what really happened to Harriet and who was behind her disappearance. Throughout the film, several scenes showing discoveries and new evidences were carefully told to lead the plot to reveal the truth about Harriet.

There were actually several stories in the movie - Blomksvist's career downfall after losing a libel case (against business magnate Wennerstrom) and his fight to get back up, Lisbeth's struggle as a warden of the state (with her guardian/family attorney), the love story between the two, and the mystery that has been haunting the wealthy Vanger family for decades. In the end, the story has shown how the different battles have ended - some in victory, some in defeat. The last scene proves the darkness and the coldness of the film - truth is, you can't have everything in life.

There were sexual scenes (heterosexual, homosexual and almost the sick kind) which were necessary to build up the story and which were done in good taste. The kind of relationship that developed between Blomksvist and Salander was really the surprising and unpredictable kind, and was reasonably explained by the circumstances surrounding the two.

Rooney Mara's acting as Lisbeth Salander was really impressive. She did well in consistently portraying the punk computer hacker role and surprised me with her disguise as a blond associate of Wennerstrom. Daniel Craig's acting was okay; I think he did not shine so much in this movie as one of the lead stars.

Apart from storytelling, the film seemed to be exposing some things about the Swedish society (which may or may not be true) - a society plagued by corruption, a society still divided by personal and political differences (presence of Nazi relatives), a society growing old with a large number of smokers, and so on.

The different shades of dark emotions stirred by the movie made it really interesting to watch and the unexpected ending made it stand out from the typical pure happy-ending kind of films. I will recommend watching this film if you're in for something out of the box.

My rating: 85%

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