Based on the dark cinematic vision of David Fincher, Dragon Tattoo succeeded in fulfilling its own tagline: The Feel-Bad Movie of the Year. From start to finish, the film delivered an intensely visceral (and rarely uplifting) depiction of a disturbed-yet-deft computer hacker (Rooney Mara) and a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) as they joined forces to solve a forty-year-old murder investigation. As Fincher already mastered the crime drama with his 1995 film, Se7en, audiences should have expected that this film would be more than an open-and-shut who-done-it. Chock full of unsavory issues like rape, torture, abuse, incest, and murder, this film took its audience on a rollercoaster of the depths of human despair. While many films have tackled these difficult issues, Dragon Tattoo utilized the topics to both subvert and strengthen its main character, albeit to the discomfort of the audience.
The cast of the film was truly incredible, with nods to Daniel Craig, Christopher Plumber, and Stellan Skarsgard; however, actress Rooney Mara was beyond impressive with her portrayal of protagonist Lisbeth Salander. Mara embodied the exquisite pain of a young woman with a life of endless hardships (enter the rape and abuse), while masterfully calling upon a seemingly infinite well of strength to overcome each of life’s obstacles. She truly transformed from her character in Fincher’s 2010 Academy Award winner The Social Network, and will, undoubtedly, be considered for numerous accolades this award season. (At this time, Mara has already been nominated for a Golden Globe.)
Despite the fact that I had not read Larson’s book series (even though it was on the book club list - sorry, ladies) nor had I watched the original Swedish film, Män som hatar kvinnor (yes, I admit that I am a terrible fangirl), I thoroughly enjoyed the film in its adaptation from the book. While it may have been difficult to watch some of the more graphic sexual violence, I was completely engrossed in the story, thanks to the stunning Rooney Mara. If Sony and David Fincher decide to move forward with the film’s sequels (based on the books The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest), count me in.