December 22, 2014
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Don Fowler
4 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Eerie remake of Swedish book/film)

Director David Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian have chosen to stick very closely to the original Swedish film, which we saw at the Avon (where else?). The major difference is that we didn't have to read subtitles.

Daniel Craig stars as Mikael Blomkvist, a magazine journalist who has been disgraced over an unsubstantiated exposé he wrote about a wealthy financier. Henrik Vanner, another wealthy man (Christopher Plummer at his best), offers him a lucrative job under the guise of writing his memoirs. Mikael's challenge is to research and solve the death of Vanner's niece, which occurred on their isolated island estate 40 years ago.

Meanwhile, we follow the parallel and seemingly unrelated story of Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a crackerjack computer hacker who is fighting her own demons. Lisbeth has been institutionalized after nearly killing her father and is under the control of a perverted, controlling solicitor, who demands kinky sexual favors in return for giving her money that is due her.

Lisbeth is a strange and scary character, possessing many skills and many quirks. Her body is loaded with piercings, and she sports a dragon tattoo on her back. What she lacks in social graces she makes up for in computer and research skills.

The two leading characters finally connect and work together to solve the mystery, which becomes quite involved and a bit scary at times. You will follow the two-hour and 40-minute movie a bit easier if you have read the book or seen the Swedish movie.

There are a lot of family members to meet and investigate, most of them living their own lives on the island and most of them not talking to one another.

The plot gets muddied when there seems to be a connection to a number of serial killings. Once everything is slowly unraveled and the mystery solved, we are treated to a most interesting ending.

A big warning: The movie has some sexually explicit and gruesome scenes, giving it a big R rating.


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