Everyone holds something to a higher standard. The reasoning behind this can be the result of a variety of things. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a film that I am guilty of holding to a much higher standard than I do most films.
Why Expect So Much?
The reasoning behind my critical standards for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is rather simple. I have been presented this same story two times before – the novel by Stieg Larsson and the original film adaption (in the native Swedish).
Due to the fact that this was not a new story, I had extremely high hopes that the American version would be as stellar as both the novel and the original film.
In many cases, this version of Larsson’s story met my expectations.
One area that I was especially impressed was the acting. Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander) shines the brightest in this category. Her portrayal of Lisbeth is eerily on-point. In fact, she is very much how I imagined the character when I read the novel.
Storytelling By Omission
As always, I’ve got to be at least partially a critic. There were a couple of things that glaringly stood out to me in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The first, and most bothersome, is the omission or adjustment of so many details within the story. I found many of these to be minute points, but it just left me wondering why Steven Zaillian found it necessary to make these changes. Fortunately, many viewers won’t notice this, as it’s really only something that would get to you if you had read the book prior to seeing the movie.
The second, and less severe, was the lack of attention to detail. The original story takes place between the years 2002 and 2003. Therefore, within the novel, the technology, vehicles, etc. are all from 2002. In the film, Daniel Craig (Mikael Blomkvist) drives around in a brand new Volvo and uses the most recent model MacBook Pro to conduct his research. As a fan of the novel first, I would have liked to have seen a little more effort in this area. Again, it does not bring down the film for the average viewer, but it comes across as lazy to those of us who know the series.
The Bottom Line
I would recommend that you go see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in a heartbeat. The film is masterfully done and proves to be tense and exciting, especially to those who have not read the novel.
I will convey a warning, though.
At it’s core, this film is very dark and twisted. There are a couple of scenes (the readers will know what I am referring to) that are likely to make you a bit squeamish. Although these scenes may be hard to watch, they stay true to Larsson’s original vision, which I appreciated. If you think you can handle it, go and watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You will not be disappointed.