David Fincher's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is an utterly engrossing experience. A slow-burning thriller that takes its time to unfold, the film is a striking combination of sleek, snowy imagery; solid performances; and compelling, sometimes brutal, storytelling.
Beginning with the most inspired opening-credit sequence this side of "Skyfall," the film launches full-bore into the murder mystery that serves as its foundation while introducing the audience to its two damaged protagonists. Daniel Craig's roughshod charisma and Rooney Mara's near-otherworldly, punk allure, along with a turn by the great Christopher Plummer, set Fincher's cast as a force with which to be reckoned. Craig and Mara are ideal guides through Larsson's tangled narrative.
For not having seen the original Swedish film, I can't really compare that to the remake because it's on my watch-list and then I would analyze the main similarities and differences between the two versions. But, having said all that, the remake is a dark, murky, and gripping thriller that will have the audience glued to their seats while also being engrossed into the edge-of-your-seat plot-line about journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played by Daniel Craig) who is trying to solve the case on what happened to the woman from a wealthy family that disappeared 40 years prior.
Fincher paints his film in muted yet vibrant tones that capture both the urban and rural landscapes of the film's Swedish setting. Every shot is always meticulously planned and executed with a unique mastery. The chill of the environments is palpable. The film's Academy Award-winning editing also keeps the tension ever-tightening.
However, its the psychological aspect that adds much of the film's edge. This is a dark movie with no restraint placed on the showings of manipulation, mystery, murder, and several different types of abuse which take place onscreen. It's uncompromising filmmaking that delivers a psychological thriller and a cerebral mystery in one very impressive Hollywood remake.
Though the film is not necessarily heavy on theme or subtext, the cast, look, and story power the proceedings into becoming an excellent and stylish exercise. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is, however quietly, one of 2011's best. I'm going to give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a 9 out of 10.