Dark, brooding, cynical but captivating – David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” takes you along into a labyrinthine journey whose charms you cannot afford to ignore. Traditional yet non-conformist, this quite lives up to the punk visions that fans of Fincher movies have grown up to love.
With “The Girl.”, Fincher goes back into the dark world that he once explored in masterpieces like “Fight Club”, “Se7en” and “The Game”. The story is pretty commonly known. A journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) has to search a woman who has gone missing for forty years. He is helped by a young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) in this quest which has a number of female corpses tumbling out of the grave. But the pursuit goes beyond a hunt andmakes inroads into the emotional recesses of Salander.
The film opens on a half-decomposing body gushed over by a metallic fluid with Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” playing in the backdrop. The film abounds in such images and showcases Fincher’s dark humor of which his earlier classics stand as a proof. People watching “The Girl.” are bound to return with such effects as also the suppressed angst of the title character played with extreme conviction by Rooney Mara. The role, which Noomi Rapace played with gutsy intensity in the 2009 Swedish adaptation, has got a simmering makeover in Rooney’s 2011 portrayal. But her attempt at imitating a Swedish accent fails miserably. Craig as Blomkvist gets over the problem by being his normal British self.
Although shades of Bond creep through, Craig largely manages to get into his character which has been aptly adapted from the book. Not as charismatic as Michael Nyqvist in the Swedish version, he brings a passive yet likeable aspect to his character.
That said, “The Girl.” is not a classic in an age that seems to care more for style than substance.
While faithfully translating much of Stieg Larsson’s book on screen, Fincher fails to hold interest about the missing girl – especially in the last half hour. Toss back “Fight Club” onto your DVD player tray if you are looking for a masterpiece. But if you only want a cerebral thriller to spend two and half hours with, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” will not disappoint you. With two sequels to hit the screen soon, one view of the first adaptation of “The Milennium Trilogy” is recommended.