The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo


Rating: 5 / 5 stars
By Sally Burgess, Technical Manager 

I was initially pretty wary when I heard that this film was being remade. For a start, the original only came out in 2009. Why even bother? But when I found out that David Fincher (The Social Network, Seven) was directing, I got pretty excited. 

The story centres around a 40-year old mystery. Harriet Vanger was 16 when she disappeared from her family estate in the 1960’s, and her great uncle Henrik (Christopher Plummer) is convinced she was murdered by a family member. Henrik enlists the help of Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), a disgraced magazine publisher who has just lost his life savings fighting a libel lawsuit against billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. 

Blomkvist strikes a deal with Vanger; a tell-all family history from him in exchange for considerable renumeration, and any evidence linking Wennerstrom to the criminal activity suspected by Blomkvist. However, he will need a research assistant. 

Lisbeth Salander is a 23-year old computer hacker and part time surveillance agent with a photographic memory. 

She’s had a rough life to say the least but her skills eventually lead her to her pairing with Blomkvist in finding out what happened to Harriet. 

It takes a long time in the movie for Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara to meet. However their chemistry works brilliantly on screen. Mara steals every scene she is in. 

For those of you who have seen the Swedish version, you will find that nothing has been added to or taken away from the original story. The violence is still graphic, the theme highly disturbing. The film is still set in Sweden, and with the exception of Daniel Craig, all the actors are speaking with a Scandinavian accent. So basically this is an exact replica of the original but with faces that the American movie going public will find more appealing and without the need for subtitles. I didn’t find the accents distracting at all, and I have to say I liked the new version just a bit more. 

For a start, the opening credit sequence is one of the most inventive I have seen in a while, accompanied by a blistering new version of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who also penned the Oscar-winning score to Fincher’s last movie The Social Network. 

And secondly, there is Rooney Mara. The Lisbeth Salander character of the original, played by Noomi Rapace, was a much harder character with very little warmth. Some of you will probably like that better but there is a slight vulnerability in the new Lisbeth that I liked better. 

The running time is long, a bum-numbing 158 minutes. But none of that time is wasted. This is only the second film I have given five whole stars to. 

This is highly HIGHLY recommended. But be warned that there are scenes of rape and torture that some people will find disturbing. 

Standout performance: Rooney Mara

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Rated: R16- contains acts of cruelty and rape, sexual violence and offensive language
Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer
Genre: Thriller
Running time: 158 mins

This movie is now showing at Reading Cinemas in Queenstown. This review has been written and rated by Sally Burgess of Reading Cinemas Queenstown.