The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
2011/ R/ 158 minutes
When a young computer hacker is tasked with investigating a prying journalist, their separate missions become entangled amid a decades-old conspiracy. David Fincher directs this English adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel.
Rating: 4 out of 10
I have always had a hard time rating films harshly when they’re as well acted and technically executed as this movie is. Clearly, anyone who knows David Fincher’s work (Seven, Fight Club, Social Network etc.) knows that he is a very talented director with a keen visual style. But, this movie is such a god damn plot mess filled with way too many disposable scenes that I cannot hold back my disdain. It also doesn’t help that it runs at over 2 ½ hours and you would think that would be enough to give the viewer a clear idea of exactly what’s going on and exactly why but it doesn’t. The whole buildup is just a stupid and meandering mess. Daniel Craig’s character is a complete waste of his talents. I have always thought he is a very believable actor who delivers solid performances but the script here turns him into generic wallpaper with very little motivation. I kept wondering several times, “Why in the fuck is still investigating this?” Cause he’s paid double his normal rate? Who cares? Cause he’ll get information on someone who fucked him over and he gets revenge? That would work if we were ever given a background as to exactly what happened so the viewer would give more than half a shit. Now, why within the huge canvas of a 2 ½ hour movie that contains some of the slowest dialogue scenes isn’t there more background on the main characters? I’ll give credit to Rooney Mara. She’s by far the best thing in the film and brings and energy to her character that the rest of the film lacks.
The side plot about what she has to go through to pay her bills is far more interesting than the main story. But, it doesn’t exactly go to explain who any of these people are. I have no doubt that this movie is faithful to its literary source or all of the fans of Stieg Larsson’s novel would have been in an uproar. But, this was a film that demanded a re-write to make it more of a film and less of a book translation. Why couldn’t the film have started with Daniel Craig’s investigation that led to his subsequent downfall? Why couldn’t Rooney Mara’s character have had some flashbacks to explain where she came from? I was very much looking forward to seeing this film and am obviously disappointed with the end result. This is easily the weakest film in David Fincher’s excellent filmography.