The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: "I Want You To Help Me Catch A Killer Of Women"

Director: David Fincher
Writer:    Steven Zaillian  
Starring: Rooney Mara
               Daniel Craig
               Christopher Plummer
               Stellan Skarsgard
               Steven Berkoff
               Robin Wright
               Joely Richardson
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now 

David Fincher's Hollywood treatment of the popular Stieg Larsson book is sleek and gripping and left me wanting more.

Mikael Blomkvist (Craig), is an investigative journalist, based in Stockholm, who is called in by a mysterious industrialist (Plummer) from a remote island to solve the decades-old mystery of his missing niece. Looking into this cold case means that Mikael must uncover many serial killings and Sweden's sinister wartime history of Nazi sympathisers. Blomkvist needs help with the case and turns to an extraordinary assistant: Lisbeth Salander (Mara), a damaged, bisexual, dragon-tattooed computer hacker endowed with a sharp genius and some very serious attitude.

Rooney Mara gives a terrifically cold performance as Lisbeth, and luckily the arrogance of the actress helps her performance. As the girl with the dragon tattoo, she is superbly lethal, a dark avenger and a hard hitting sexual presence. Where Noomi Rapace's (Swedish film version) Lisbeth was often mysterious, Rooney is more explicit, more aggressive, with a harsh haircut taking the jet-black hair away from her pale, sharp face, and her blonde eyebrows making the eyes stand out starkly, almost on stalks. Rooney shows the audience how being raped and abused by men has affected her, and it also shows how she is able to help with Mikael's case, it has made her angry and fierce and she puts that into everything she does. She also creates a moment of poignancy when her badass attitude melts into love for Blomkvist himself, obscurely and kind of disturbingly triggered by his talking about his daughter.

Mara truly is the driving force behind this film: without her, audiences could end up being distracted by the extremely unreal-looking elements, especially the vaguely imagined world of media and business. The end of the film is slightly out of place against the dark, cold, Nazi filled world we become used to, with Lisbeth going on a disguise filled caper. However, it is a testament to Mara's massive star power that she is able to still keep the audience engaged throughout.

This new English-language remake, is sleeker, smoother and sexier than its Swedish predecessors. It is a muscular and sublimely confident movie, and its brutal violence is therefore even tougher to take. It won't be for everyone and it's sometimes grotesque plot twists are uncomfortable to watch, but that is what makes the film so superb; and despite the occasional slip up and plot issue, it really is an exciting watch.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Trailer