I don’t really know what the criteria tends to be for films that end up being cult classics but I feel like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo could end up being one of those. Director David Fincher doesn’t hold back with Rooney Mara, who stars as Lisbeth, a punk-styled girl with multiple facial piercings, body tattoos, an agressive anti-social history but is a professional computer hacker who is hired to do extensive background checks. As far as I remember, I don’t think someone with this type of image has ever been portrayed in a lead role like this and taken seriously.
One of Lisbeth’s jobs is to check the history of Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) on behalf of Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) who is looking to hire Blomkvist to write the family memoirs while also investigating the disappearance of his niece Harriot. In a strange twist, Mikael hires Lisbeth as his assistant after learning of her abilities.
While much of the film is centred around Blomkvist’s investigation of the history of Vanger’s strange family surroundings, little is known about him other than what is periodically revealed by Lisbeth, who knows nearly everything. Lisbeth’s character, on the other hand, has a lot of development and emphasis placed on the type of person she is based on what we see in the movie provided in little snippets throughout. While it also doesn’t go too much into the past, what is revealed about both of them is enough to justify what we are to know about their present situations.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is nearly two hours and forty minutes long but despite its length, it’s a film that uses every second wisely. While not a fast-paced film, there are very few moments of filler or otherwise insignificant scenes that don’t contribute to the overall story. The chemistry between Mara and everyone she interacts with is fantastic, putting emphasis on the great casting done for each of the roles. The graphic scenes between Lisbeth and Nils Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen) don’t hold back on the intensity as it further adds to just what kind of person Lisbeth has to be. Mara is easily the strongest point of this movie and the growth her character shows by the end is spot on.
While Daniel Craig seems to be one of the biggest names in Hollywood right now, despite having been filming for nearly two decades, this role only helps catapult him further. Despite the recognition factor, he owns the role of Mikael. However this film is clearly focused on Rooney Mara’s character. The soundtrack, provided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, is made to suit Lisbeth. Industrial, dark and heavy but not intrusive. It doesn’t have the stand-alone quality that the soundtrack to The Social Network had, Reznor and Ross’ previous collaboration with Fincher, but it compliments the film very well adding almost sinister undertones. Meanwhile, the amazing introduction shots are accompanied by the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song with vocals provided by Karen O, further adding to the badass factor of the film and providing that one distinctive song that can always be associated with the movie – and vice versa.