So, I went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo over the holidays. It was great. Long but engrossing. Perhaps I should say long and engrossing.
And it’s interesting movie to sit through because it’s not a sweeping, effects-laden epic. It’s lean and no-frills, and somehow that ends up being the thing that’s interesting and thrilling about it. If you’re a person who objects to attempts to wring emotion from an audience through overwrought performances or a haunting score or whatever, this is the film for you.
I got the feeling the director wanted to let the story tell itself. Lay everything out for you and let you decide how you feel about it. There was almost a cool detachment in the directing style, which I found refreshing (even though I am one of those people who is not averse to being manipulated by a director). Extraordinarily wrenching and horrific things happen in this film. These things are treated matter-of-factly.
I watched–for kicks and grins–both the American and Swedish versions of the film. They’re pretty remarkably similar, though I think I prefer the American tweaks to the story. The best tweak, though, was in the casting. Rooney Mara gives an Oscar-caliber performance as the tortured namesake of the film. I think she’s what saves it from being downright icy, because her performance is so subtly heartbreaking. In fact, her performance as the bruised and battered–both literally and figuratively–Lisbeth was the superior one. She was tough and so vulnerable at the same time, so feral, but not in any kind of showy, over-the-top way…which is frankly what I braced myself for when I went to see this. If you don’t come away from the film wanting to give her a sandwich and a hug, you’re probably a horrible person. She’s the reason to see this TGDT. Well, the one that looms largest.
All in all, it was an extremely satisfying movie-going experience. And that’s something that doesn’t happen to me too often these days.
PS–I would totally do Daniel Craig. Just sayin’.