When I want to feel brooding and dark I can pull out a few movies that do the trick. I haven’t added to that list for a while. Guess what, I just added to the list. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo took me to places in the depths of my mind that don’t get much traffic these days. I was young once, a lifetime ago and when my mind was fertile with steaming piles of darkness and brood. That’s not a bad thing, and with this story of a young woman ravaged by life and choices, there is a freedom to go to those dark places to shake some of the cobwebs and feel that very unique emotional weight again.
There is something about the cast of this movie that elevates every scene while dragging it all through the muck at the same time. This is a good thing. Our leading man isn’t brooding or dark, not on the surface anyway. He has some hidden things we don’t know and never will know, but that’s what moves him forward into a mystery that would send other types running. Our leading lady is troubled, sharp, damaged, motivated, independent, angry, searching. She’s not afraid of the worst one person can do to another, it’s all too familiar to her. The feisty hair and piercings and tattoos are the truth about who she feels she is. She’s raw and poised for the next asshole or pervert to make their move, and ready to bring them the justice they deserve.
The search to solve a 40 year old mystery drives our man to a family who wallow in secrets and snobbery, money and depravity. This is a dark place to be hiding from what controversies he’s trying to avoid in his “real” life. The same mystery pulls our young woman (or girl as the title says) into the same web of deceit and sadness. Together they seem honest with each other in a way that is so beautifully performed by both of them it’s fantastic to watch. I couldn’t get enough of their moments together. Even if they are just talking, abbreviated sentences with an understanding of each other that doesn’t make sense, but totally makes sense at the same time.
The sets and locations of this movie are clever, a tiny bit pretentious, but mostly perfect. Mostly perfect might be one of those oxi-morons, but whatever. The costumes are exacting and relentless with the personalities woven into every sleeve and combat boot. The music is fantastic, more brooding and mooding and draws me deeper into the minds of the people on the screen.
All together this is one of those movies that doesn’t just take me to a dark place to think and ponder the terrors we as humans can put upon each other, it is uplifting in a thought provoking way. I liked it, even though it’s got some moments that I can’t say were enjoyable or entertaining, but powerful and pointed enough to poke at those sensitive spots in my life experience to bring some life back to that youthful me who hid from the pain….but this kind of story can bring it back, spin it around, and give some empowerment that is hard to explain.
- Vanger Archives – Over 4 hours of behind the scenes footage, as always with any Fincher release Sony have pulled out all the stops here. The only thing I couldnt find on the disc was an interview with Trent Reznor.
- Audio Commentary By David Fincher – A really insightful commentary track with Director David Fincher, I could listen to this man all day long, if you have even a passing interest into how films are made this is a must listen.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
This is a great cover, bold and interesting, however I don’t think I would have this as a poster. I’m not sure why, but it’s just not enough to match the experience of the movie. The menus are well thought out, with that kind of creepy film grain and old fashioned file cabinet, filed paperwork, library kind of vibe. It’s a good package if you dig that kind of thing.
Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
David Fincher has a reputation for great looking movies and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is no exception. Filmed in Fincher’s distinct gloomy style some might say the image looks washed out, but if you are a true Fincher fan you will understand exactly what is going on here. Filmed mostly in Sweden during the coldest winter they have had in 30 years, every nuance of this beautiful country is captured here, with crisp looking white snow scenes and lush looking greenery as the film nears it’s climax. This is a 1080P encode that is near perfection, it’s not the sort of movie you will pull out to show off your home theatre system but technically it stands out with the formats best.
Like the last David Fincher film The Social Network Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross are back again on music duty here. This score is not as subdued as The Social Network and actually borders into full Nine Inch Nails mode at times. The opening sequence (which I like to describe as a perverted James Bond opening) really gives you a taste of what’s to come, Reznor & Ross give us a screaming version of Led Zeppelins Immigrant Song which really gives your speakers a workout.
Moving away from the music though The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has one of the most ingenious sound designs I have heard in recent memory. Almost the entire film consists of talking which is always anchored to the front speaker, but during every scene small ambient sounds are played through the rear speakers, this can be anything from clinking coffee cups in a cafe, to more sinister noises that I don’t want to reveal here.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is my favorite movie so far this year, David Fincher can do no wrong in my eyes and this movie really blew me away. It’s criminal that Rooney Mara was not nominated for an Oscar for this role, but hey there is always the sequel.
I’m not going to bullshit anyone. I am not interested in buying DVD’s or Blu-Ray’s much anymore. I mean, I will buy movies, digitally, and add to my collection that way, or rent them from online services like Netflix. You can get this 3 disc set special edition for about $22 or $23, so if you make the most of your movie watching experience it would be worth it….the quality of the film itself does count for some of what I would spend. The thing is, I don’t normally, unless the movie is so outstanding, think that 20 or 30 or 40 bucks is reasonable for a movie on a disc. It’s just a box to add to a shelf, with a very slim chance of me ever taking it off that shelf to watch again. There are a few movies in this life that I will watch over and over and over, so I understand the desire people have to own a tangible movie to have ready to plunk in the player at anytime, so for those folks and Fincher lovers and book fans with open minds, this can be a good deal. It’s got the Fincher touch which comes with some degree of class and details, so that borders on collectible or ownable, but not for me.
Overall Score 8/10