Matt Adcock’s film review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

“Rape, torture, fire, animals, religion. Am I missing anything?”

Monday, 2nd January 2012, 6:21 am

Welcome to the dark, lurid world of Stieg Larsson’s multi-million selling novel, wonderfully reworked here in English by master director David ‘Social Network’ Fincher.

Sure, it’s only been a few years since the original Swedish language film brought the iconic titular ‘girl’ to the big screen, but this new riff on the material is something rather awesome, a film that reaches into your soul and squeezes it so tightly that time flies past in a whirl of deception and intrigue.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo packs in the nastiness, including serial killing, Nazis, incest, rape and violent retribution.

It’s trashy and base but Fincher manages to elevate the overall experience to one that leaves you breathless and highly engaged.

The second the cool opening credits roll through to the semi cliff-hanging finish – there are two more books in this series, so potentially another two films to finish the story – this is a cinematic experience unlike any other.

Daniel Craig is excellent in the central role of disgraced hotshot journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who gets more than he bargained for when hired to investigate the unsolved disappearance of a girl from her home on an odd little family-owned Swedish island.

Could the case be linked to the work of a serial ritualistic murderer whose sadistic killing spree has spanned generations?

By far the star of the show, though, is Lisbeth Salander – an incredible performance by Rooney ‘The Social Network’ Mara – a socially challenged twentysomething superhacker and ward of the state.

She who wears the dragon tattoo is the pivotal character who undergoes extreme sexual abuse, humiliation and degradation at the hands of her perverted legal guardian.

Her subsequent revenge is eye-wateringly savage but completely understandable – designed to empower females everywhere, and make the men with them feel queasy, to say the least.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is meticulously shot film and creates a truly dynamic chilly atmosphere which veritably leaks from the screen into your subconscious.

This is highly recommended for those who like their mysteries shot through with pitch-black undercurrents.

Here’s to the next two instalments getting the green light soon!