Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO follows Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, a co-owner and writer at Millennium Magazine. Mikael seeks to escape the public eye for a while after a blunder of epic proportions. Lucky for him, Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) is looking for someone to write his memoirs. Oh, and to uncover the mysterious death of his great-niece Harriet Vanger. How does Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) tie into all of this? Well, if you’re like me and you never read books that movies are based on you might not know. Lisbeth is enlisted to do a background check on Mikael before Henrik will take him on. Blomkvist is involved with his married colleague at the magazine, Erika Berger (Robin Wright – who, by the way, looks like an old catcher’s mit these days) and with a world of trouble on his shoulders, he ventures out to the island. When he realizes that he is getting in over his head, he insists that he be given a research assistant. He gets the brilliant mind of Lisbeth to assist in all of his research needs.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about how excited I was for the last month and a half. My suspicions were that because David Fincher (The Social Network) was behind this film with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on the turntables, this movie was going to — for lack of a better term — blow my fuckin’ mind. The story is an excellent one. Intriguing, smart, well done. However, I was not as impressed as I was with, say, THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Now, this is apples and oranges, really, because the two movies are entirely different in nature. So why was I checking my phone in the theater? Why did I leave to go to the bathroom when I didn’t even have to go that bad? Perhaps it was the extra 45 minutes of unnecessary movie in there that turned me off.
It is always a bad sign when an avid moviegoer like me takes a cellphone out or leaves the theater for any reason during the film. I have risked my ability to bear children more than once because a movie was so compelling that I couldn’t tear myself away for as long as it took to use the facilities. I did both of those things last night.
The movie starts off strong. It is ominous and leaves the audience wondering. Always wondering. What is the story here? Who killed Harriet? Why do rich families always have these deep, dark secrets? I’m just saying, if I had my own island and a beautiful mansion to live in on that island, I would be too busy dancing the dance of joy to even think about sinister plots and things of the like. But then my life wouldn’t make for good movie material.
When the film is introducing the two main characters to us, some light is shed on the troubling life of Lisbeth Salander. After her legal guardian suffers a stroke, Lisbeth is appointed a lawyer by the state. Nils Bjurman takes over Lisbeth’s finances and does things to her that even my desensitized mind was bothered by. Forced fellatio and anal rape (the WORST kind) top the list. He’s just a creeper in every way. Putting Lisbeth on an allowance system and then forcing himself on her when she needs money for a new laptop, making fun of her eyebrow piercing. Don’t worry, though. He gets his comeuppance in a big way.
The movie is fine. It really is. It’s just that extra time they didn’t need to have in there. Even the emo kids with the skinny jeans and the wacky hair-dos next to me in the theater agreed that it was too long. I don’t think it is hard to over do it in a picture like this one. There is so much story to be told and only so many frames to tell it. David Fincher can make a great movie. I think that with this one it was just a matter of trimming the fat a bit. The acting is superb. Rooney Mara is excellent. Daniel Craig was even good. Christopher Plummer is sublime, but that goes without saying. Next time let’s just leave out all of the extra bits, hm?