As Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, he is sued by the twins who claimed he stole their idea, and by the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.
Robert Downey Jr.,
Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence, but Lisbeth must be willing to share the details of her sordid experiences with the court.
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 niece 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.Written by
Solidly told story that builds well and has a real visual impact thanks to direction and cinematography
I'm probably one of the few people left who came to this film knowing nothing about it whatsoever. I never saw the original films even though I knew I should and, while I was aware that the story was some form of mystery with roots in history, I had more of a "Dan Brown" type story in my mind and I wasn't sure if I would like it. The opening credits of the US version threw me even more as I wasn't sure what these visceral figures were about or if they were indicative of the film to come. Fortunately after the impact of the credits the film does settle down somewhat and more of a story begins to be told.
I had been told that the film was hard to follow and I agreed with Blomkvist when he comments to Vanger that he will struggle with all the names, but the latter was correct when he says soon enough you'll know them. Accordingly the story does flow well throughout the film with the mystery unfolding in a way that takes the viewer with it rather than pulling it out of the blue towards the end, or demanding the audience do too much work. It does help that it is fairly superficial as a story when you boil it down to its basics, but it is presented with a lot going on and a sense of danger and darkness that I enjoyed. It is probably longer than it needs to be but it doesn't ever really drag; there is some time at the end of the film after the mystery has been solved that could have been reigned in, but in fairness they extend the character of Lisbeth so it wasn't time wasted. Similarly although the sexual material between Lisbeth and her new guardian is secondary to the mystery, it is worth it because it informs us on her.
Having made Social Network, Fincher seemed to be a good choice for a plot that involves a lot of computer searching and pouring over old records – and indeed he was, to the point that he is the real selling point here. He directs with a real good touch along with Social Network cinematographer Cronenweth. There is little action but the shot framing and the feel of the film gives it a tension and an edge that suits the superficial feel it does have. This isn't a great aspect of the film but it isn't a major problem either since I felt that the delivery of the story does rather cover these weaknesses. I was fortunate to come to the cast without the need to compare with the original (having never seen it) and perhaps I liked them more for this. Mara is good but I never shook off the feeling of her lacking an edge and too often I didn't feel like this character was fully fleshed out in her hands – still good, but that feeling stuck with me. Craig is strong in the lead as he plays quite a bookish type. The support is deep in faces all doing good work – Plummer, Skarsgård, Berkoff, Richardson, Wright and others.
Overall Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a solidly engaging mystery that is a little bit too long but mostly unfolds well thanks to strong delivery in the superficial aspects. The cast, the cinematography and the direction create a sense of darkness and danger that is effective at taking the viewer along. I'm not seeing the brilliant film or story that millions other around the world proclaim it as, but I did enjoy it for what it did well.
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