Volcanic “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Shocks, Flows and Fascinates

The opening sequence of the David Fincher-directed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is, upon first exposure, Bond-like. Fitting, since the film’s principle male star is Daniel Craig. But upon further inspection, deeper immersion, it is so much more than a Bond-precursor. This is not an Ian Fleming action thriller.
It is in fact the first film in Columbia Pictures’ and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ three-picture adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s literary blockbuster The Millennium Trilogy. Although the allure of the books and the foreign language films long interested me, I have not read the books nor viewed the previous film release.
And so I speak from the unsuspecting; these characters, this work, is spellbinding. What I find in this first installment is a powerful work of cinematic art. It is hot, flowing, sizzling and annihilating – thus my Volcano reference in the blog title. (R-Rated for BRUTAL VIOLENT CONTENT INCLUDING RAPE AND TORTURE, STRONG SEXUALITY, GRAPHIC NUDITY AND LANGUAGE)
Coolness, to a character, keeps this story rolling so that it’s length is of no concern. The pace, the ramp up – and the salacious ending – all make for film addiction. Much has been/will be said about the performance of The Girl by Rooney Mara, and her sexuality and humanity are real and powerful and only begin to uncover her character’s depth. I know we will see this in coming films.
But this is an ensemble film; the work of Craig and Mara are central and powerful, yet the work is remarkable because of the story in the hands of actors Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Yorick van Wageningen and Joely Richardson.
Cinematographically, Fincher has done the difficult by transporting an exotic and erotic subtext into the exhausting and sprawling country where this families secrets lie buried, never letting the viewer feel led to a prescribed ending. Like the relationships between well-crafted characters, the story happens in a down-flow, picks up steam and consumes.
It’s worthy of both a Best Director and Best Picture nomination as well as consideration for screenplay adaptation by Steven Zaillian. Mara is unique and unforgettable as The Girl, and though she may not find an Oscar-nomination, I would expect she will be recognized for her work in some of the International film awards.

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