The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Blu-ray)

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Blu-ray)

A discredited journalist (Daniel Craig) and a mysterious computer hacker discover that even the wealthiest families have skeletons in their closets wh...

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Review of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Blu-ray)"

published 20/01/2014 | jipp05
Member since : 31/05/2010
Reviews : 418
Members who trust : 48
About me :
Excuse the glut. Don't feel you have to rate all the reviews I'm posting just making the most of the bonus whilst it is still around.
Pro Good acting, second part pacy, HD looked good
Cons Slow first half, not as good as the book
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"Not a patch on the book but a fairly good film"

Not a patch on the book but a fairly good film

I read the Millennium books by Steig Larsson a few years ago and loved them and was completely captivated by the character of Lisbeth Salander so I tracked down the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which is a pretty decent movie version of the novel. Having read both the book and also seen the Swedish film which I enjoyed I didn’t see the need to film an American version of the book but as details of the cast, director and screen writer leaked before filming I became intrigued as this looked to be a high quality remake and not just a cynical cash in.

For people unfamiliar with the book it follows Mikael Blomqvist a disgraced journalist who has just been found guilty of slandering a prominent businessman and fined a large amount of money. He is then hired by Henry Vanger another wealthy industrialist to find out what happened to his favourite niece several years earlier when she went missing. Convinced she was murdered by a member of his family he wants answers before his life comes to an end. In return for Mikaels help he will reward him not only financially but also agrees to give him evidence which will help him clear his name in the libel case.

The film also follows Lisbeth Salander the character who the book and film are named for. Lisbeth is a computer hacker who is hired by Henry Vanger to do a background check on Mikael Blomqvist. Anti-social, disturbed and with violent tendencies Lisbeth has been made a ward of the state after being declared mentally incapable and is under the guardianship of a lawyer. This is all only on the surface as although she is certainly a character with multiple problems she is also a computer genius and certainly capable of looking after herself.

The script for the film is written by Steven Zaillan who won an Oscar for writing Schindler’s List as well as acclaim for other films including Gangs of New York and American Gangster while it is directed by David Fincher a director known for dark and gritty films such as Fight Club so it certainly has a good pedigree. Unfortunately even with these two at the helm the film falls somewhat short of the novels. I think this is more to do with the fact that they have tried to be as faithful to the books as possible but as there is so much information in the books the movie tends to be somewhat muddled and confusing.

It is a fairly long movie at over 2 and a half hours but for the first half of the film nothing really happens and it moves along at a snail’s pace. A lot of time is spent setting up the story and trying to include things from the book. Unfortunately it doesn’t come across clearly and even though I have read the book and seen the Swedish film I found myself confused to what was happens at points as a lot of things aren’t explained clearly and it feels as though the film makers as assuming that everyone watching will have read the books which isn’t the case as the person I watched this with had never read them so was constantly asking me what was going on. Also the two main characters feel like they are in completely different movies for the first half and although they do come together nicely in the second half I think a little bit more time spend on their interaction in the first half would have really benefited the story.

Luckily the second half really picks up the pace and I really enjoyed the second half of the film and thought that it captured the feel of the book well. The first half is important to set everything up for the second half but I do wish it had been done with a little bit more pizazz as it almost lost me which would have been a shame as the second half of the film is so much more superior and I might have missed out on what turned out to be a fairly good thriller.

As I watched this on Blu Ray the picture was crystal clear and I think this format really is the best way to experience the film as the cinematography is stunning and the bleak Swedish winter looks gorgeous in HD. I have to say that the look of the film was one of its best assets as it is very lush looking but also dark and almost noirish in its look which really suits the film well.

I knew before watching the film that it was set in Sweden but with a predominately English/American cast who were going to be speaking with Swedish accents. I thought that this just sounded weird and I was convinced it was going to be gimmicky and distract me but it actually worked so well and within a few minutes of the film I was used to it and I think had everyone spoke with say an English accent then it would have jarred with the Swedish setting. A good example of this is with Daniel Craig who I think is a fine actor but for some reason that I cannot fathom he is the only cast member who does not speak with a Swedish accent and I found this to be really distracting when watching him interact with the rest of the cast and it actually really annoyed me in parts. I am sure that he could have mastered a Swedish accent as it is not the most difficult of accents and the fact that he spoke with a English accent while everyone else around him spoke with Swedish accents made me think less of him as an actor which is a shame as other than that he did a good job of portraying the character of Mikael Blomqvist though he might also have been slightly too handsome to be playing him according to the description in the book.

Rooney Mara who played the character of Lisbeth was the one that I was most curious about before seeing the film as I was convinced she couldn’t be as good as Noomi Repace who depicted the character in the original Swedish movie and so perfectly captured the feel of the character that she completely stole the film and made it all the more memorable thanks to her performance. I did go into it with Noomi’s performance fresh in my mind and to begin with I wasn’t convinced by Mara’s performance but by the end she had completely won me over. It is a much more subtle performance than Repace’s but no less powerful and she manages to completely embody the character of Lisbeth. For people who have never seen the original film or read the books they may not understand the fuss of people who rave about the Lisbeth Salander character but for me that is more to do with the writing than with Mara’s performance and I thought she really shined in this part. Other people must have agreed with me as she was nominated for an Oscar for her part in this film.

The rest of the cast don’t really get much screen time but they all do a good job with what they have. Stellen Skarsgard a real Swede gets the most screen time and does well with it but even smaller players like Jolie Richardson do well with their limited screen time. I really enjoyed seeing Robin Right Penn in this as Mikaels lover and business partner and her small role made me wish she had a larger role as it was played perfectly.

There are obviously a lot of things missing from the film that played a big part in the books but these aren’t missed greatly. I do think that it would have been slightly better had the Vanger family been more clearly defined who was who but in the end this wasn’t a major issue as everything was resolved but I do think some of the themes could have been explained a bit better. They film makers also changed the ending of the film which even I as a fan of the books applaud as it was much better than in the books which was a little bit anti-climactic.
One thing that I really noticed while watching this was that a lot of the time the voices of the actors wasn’t clear enough and given that it is a film that needs a lot of concentration to keep track of things this was a problem. There was a few times I had to rewind to try and catch sentences which were just mumbled.

Overall I think this is a good interpretation of the book. I don’t think it is as good as the book is but I also think that considering it only has an hour and a half to condense everything from the book to the screen it does a good job. The first half is a little bit slow to get going but the second half races along and makes up for it. The acting is good across the board especially from Mara as Lisbeth and while her incarnation of Lisbeth Salander is not quite as iconic as Roomi Repace’s was I think her acting was spectacular and she blows Daniel Craig off the screen on every scene that they have together.

I bought this Blu Ray Second hand from Amazon where I paid £5 for it and I really do think this is the way to see this film as it looks so good you want to be able to see everything in as much detail as possible.

For those who like the extras there is the usual behind the scenes and interviews and audio commentary which are usually something that I don’t watch unless something has really fascinated me. There are also loads of other features including a look at how Rooney Mara got the part and her screen test which is something that I did watch as it interested me and I was curious about how she was cast as I have seen her on red carpets etc and she looks nothing like she does in this. The extras list is extensive and not really something that interests me but for a real fan of the film there is plenty here to interest and makes the Blu Ray even better value for money.

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Comments on this review

  • PerpetualMotion published 23/02/2016
  • lauracindy published 03/02/2014
    Fab review x
  • 80smusicreviewer published 26/01/2014
    Excellent review. E.
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Product Information : The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Blu-ray)

Manufacturer's product description

A discredited journalist (Daniel Craig) and a mysterious computer hacker discover that even the wealthiest families have skeletons in their closets while working to solve the mystery of a 40-year-old murder in this David Fincher-directed remake of the 2009 Swedish thriller of the same name. Inspired by late author Stieg Larsson's successful trilogy of books, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO gets under way as the two leads (Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara) are briefed in the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, whose uncle suspects she may have been killed by a member of their own family. The deeper they dig for the truth, however, the greater the risk of being buried alive by members of the family, who will go to great lengths to keep their secrets tightly sealed.


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