Although Thrillers are a dime a dozen in the film industry (no matter where in the world you go), occasionally one does seem to rise above the rest. "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is one of those Thrillers. Its a daunting film with an eye for artistic presence and a thick and heavy atmosphere that will drag you into the trenches along with its characters on a roller coaster ride of subtle yet impactful proportions.
Mikael Blomkvist was set up to fail. He's a damn good reporter with persistence and an eye for detail, but when he tries to take on a major corporation he finds himself looking at a little jail time for his trouble. Its at this odd time that he is approached by an old family business man that is looking to find his lost niece whom disappeared 40 years prior. With a lot of money on the line and a solid challenge on hand, Blomkvist takes the job only to find himself a bit deeper in the mix than he intended. With the help of a mysterious dragon tattooed hacker who has taken an interest with him, he realizes he has more to the story than he intended. Now their lives might be in danger as they discover more than one woman seemed to go missing in connection to their 40 year old case.
This Swedish Thriller has an interesting take for a modern film. It feels very old. The writing feels like something Agatha Christie might have concocted at times (although it definitely has its modern moments with the role of women in society) especially with the family matters and many of the ways that the film is structured and even the film making side of it seems to be done in an older style. It focuses with an almost inhuman focus on details and subtlety to create an atmosphere of intensity based on low energy. Its an odd combination that almost enhances many of the modern aspects of the film (much that has to do with the story) and makes them stick out like beacons. The odd moments of violence and lack of censorship seem to be the biggest of the modern tendencies this film shows. Oddly enough, the balance of old to new in the film is struck very well and it makes it quite the riveting watch.
Unfortunately, not is all rainbows and flowers in a land of death like "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". The movie does drag along at times with its heavy focus on quiet moments and atmosphere and by the last act it sort of turns from an artsy look on social ideas into a more general feeling Thriller. It still rocks your socks when it wants to even at the more cliche moments towards the end, but it does somewhat disappoint towards the climax.
With a solid cast, both the leads are amazing and devoted to there roles, and a vision that combines elements of the old and new style Thriller, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a fairly stunning and intense watch. Not without its faults, it does strike some great moments and balances that many Thrillers fail to recognize. Definitely looking forward to seeing how the next two films in the series pan out.
BONUS RANT: Why is Hollywood intent on remaking anything with subtitles that is deemed good? This is also getting that treatment from our loving land of big bucks and bullshit films, despite the feeling that this film pretty much did it to the best of its abilities. Its frustrating that American audiences support this kind of mentality. The film isn't that old and its good. Its not like they could do much better, and honestly, I doubt they can. Support this foreign version and its sequels.
Written By Matt Reifschneider