It is probably the most needless remake in the history of remakes: the novels that the film were based on were only released in 2005 and the novels were turned into films in Swedish (makes sense considering the author of the novels was Swedish and the film itself takes place in Sweden) in 2009 to very positive reviews. Apparently though it is deemed impossible for people to watch a film in a foreign language and so it was remade for a larger mainstream audience with studios hoping to cash in. So how good is the remake?

Daniel Craig is Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who has just lost his reputation in a very public court hearing. Blomkvist is then hired because of his investigative talents to take on a case of a disappearing girl that happened over 40 years ago. He works with Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a very complicated girl with a dark past but is a skilled computer hacker, to delve deeper into the mystery. The pair bond as they work together to uncover hidden secrets in a dark past of the Vanger family.

Rooney Mara is brilliant as the title character; she has to put in a very very emotional performance and she goes through some very dark and brutal scenes. Mara’s dedication to the role was clear beforehand as she got several real piercings instead of opting for fake ones for her character and that dedication shows on screen. She has good chemistry with Daniel Craig who seems to be the only person in Sweden without a Swedish accent but that can be overlooked. Most people will know Daniel Craig as James Bond and playing such an iconic role it becomes difficult to distance yourself from that. It takes a really good film and a really good performance to move away from being thought of just as Bond and Craig accomplishes that here with a very assured and understated performance. Yorick van Wageningen, Christopher Plummer, Stellen Skarsgard and Joely Richardson make up part of the supporting cast in what is an all round wonderfully crafted cast.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo lasts for two and a half hours but moves at such a fast pace that this doesn’t drag at all. The opening twenty minutes as the film introduces it’s characters is a little sluggish and uninteresting but it is vital to gain backstory. Once Craig’s Mikael Blomkvist takes on this mysterious case though the film begins to roll and doesn’t waste a second to look back. There are lots of things happening at once and if you blink you may miss something important; you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a second. They mystery of who is responsible for the missing girl all them years ago is fantastic and keeps you guessing with revelation after revelation having lasting effects on the Vanger family at the centre of the film. There are parts of the film that are horrible realistic and will make you cringe at the sight of it but the sensitive issues are handled well and the brutal events are handled even better by director David Fincher. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a crime thriller deserving of the highest acclaim.

Fincher is easily one of the best directors of the past twenty years churning out Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and now this; I would say The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is second only to Fight Club and even gives that a run for its money. The suspense created throughout the feature is wonderful and the beautiful editing is what makes this such an invigorating watch. Once the mystery is solved things revert back to how they did at the beginning and the film unwinds slowly but we are too invested and curious about the characters to mind that any more.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a masterpiece.

My Rating: 9/10.

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