girl with the dragon tattoo*It’s been a while since I’ve watched and thoroughly enjoyed a mainstream film.  There have been surprises, such as The Help, but relative to the number of films being released … you get the picture.  So, checking out Columbia, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Pictures’ “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and finding myself wide-eyed and on the edge of my seat for much of the 158 minute run time, did my critical eye a world of good.

The film, directed by David Fincher (“The Social Network”) and based on late novelist/journalist Stieg Larsson’s award-winning novel trilogy, Millennium Series, was a thrill ride comprised of all the elements necessary to deliver a fulfilling theater experience to the most discriminating filmgoers – up to and including crime, sexuality and squirm-in-your-seat revenge.

The central focus of TGWTDT was a “troubled,” but redemptively intriguing young woman, Lisbeth Salander (Mara Rooney), whose genius was shrouded by a tough, emotionless exterior.  The development of her character reached its peak when she connected with an embattled investigative journalist/magazine publisher, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), whom had been hired by a Stockholm-based business tycoon, Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), to solve a 40-year old [Vanger] family member disappearance/murder mystery.  Initially portrayed as being somewhat out of control, Salander demonstrated through her interaction with Blomkvist just how in control she was – which Rooney masterfully acted.

“I had read all three books and I had a really clear picture of who this girl was,” Mara said about the role.  “She was incredibly comfortable with her sexuality.”

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Going in, I expected nothing from the film, as I wasn’t familiar with the book and had purposely done no research prior to the screening.  What I got, though, was cerebrally provocative and thoroughly stimulating entertainment.  The complexities of the Vanger family (Henrik; Gottfried; Isabella; Harriet; Martin; Cecilia; Anita; and Birger) – all considered suspects in the case – along with the compelling plot to support them made every moment of  viewing intense.

“I loved that the fact that he [Henrik] sells everyone out with a handshake,” Stellan Skarsgard said of the Vanger’s familial relations.  “I appreciated the fact that he sort of sets the table for where everyone is on the island and there was this wonderful moment when Mikael asked him, ‘so you live here?’ and he smiles and appreciates that and indicates, ‘I have the right detective,’ because even he is a suspect.

From there, the twists and turns took over.

Now that the credits have rolled, my research led me to the discovery that the book has been adapted to film before (Swedish), but the writer (Steven Zaillian) director and cast chosen for this iteration bring a fresh perspective and nuances that can only enhance the public’s perception of the franchise.

“It doesn’t worry me [that the film is being remade so soon],” said Daniel Craig.  “I think that the source material is good enough and everybody wins in this situation.  I think we have 65 million readers of a book and have lots of people that have seen the Swedish version of the movie … everybody is gonna go back and read the book and watch the Swedish version, it’s a win win.”

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is in theaters now.

To see a trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, visit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrFgnizJ7qY