The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Saw Mr. Fincher’s film this afternoon.

I enjoyed it because I read the novel, that too recently. I am not sure at all if someone who did not read the novel could have followed the movie, much less, enjoy it. I got the feeling that the script and the director were paying more attention to staying close to the book (there were very few deviations/liberties taken, even with peripheral points) than presenting a tight well made suspense thriller film. Again, it didn’t bother me much because I read the novel recently.

Since I read the novel, I didn’t have to spend any mental energy about the suspense in the story. For the first few minutes of the film, my mind was occupied by the inevitable conceit, checking how closely the film was following the book. Once it was clear that there’s not going to be much deviation from the novel, I was able to devote my full attention to enjoying all the ingredients of the film.

The first honor goes to actors. Rooney Mara was simply amazing. As soon as I publish this post, I am going to look up on IMDB all the films she had acted in so far, and start watching them soon. She is good. Christopher Plummer delivered a nuanced portrayal of the aged patriarch with finesse. Couldn’t expect anything less – experience shows! Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard also gave a very nuanced portrayal. I especially liked his mood changes in the climax scene.I also liked Yorick van Wageningen’s portrayal of the boorish, lascivious lawyer, Bjurman. Beauties Robin Wright, Joely Richardson and Geraldine James had very little to do. But the real revelation in the acting department was Mr. Daniel “James Bond” Craig himself. I went to the movie fully expecting to be totally underwhelmed by this candy for the female eye. While I can’t say that Craig’s performance blew me away, I should admit that I was sufficiently impressed. Craig’s Mikael was every bit middle aged, bumbling/bungling, smartly intelligent (almost professorial), and utterly sweet guy I had imagined while reading the novel. Good going, Mr. Craig.

The next best thing about this movie is the music – the background score. My philosophy regarding background score is that it should never intrude. I probably would have noticed the score in this film even if I had not heard the radio interview with the composer, Trent Reznor a few days ago; it did  intrude, and jarred on my senses. However, once I’d grit my teeth and let that first wave wash over me (you can say I was baptized the Reznor way), I began to see it as an organic ingredient of the film. It was brilliant. It hits all the right discordant notes. Bravo!

The final thing I want to compliment in this film is the set design. I liked the old-time disorderly coziness of Mikael’s cottage, but I absolutely loved the spartan gleaming ultra-modern decor (all glass exterior!) of Martin’s house – absolutely brilliant. If I were the president of a Swedish conglomerate, that’s exactly how my house would be :)

The rest of the movie is rather pedestrian. Didn’t really see the kind of Fincher brilliance that was on show in The Social Network or other previous works.