Rooney Mara plays Lisbeth, a brilliant hacker and investigator, and a Swedish one. She tends to work solo, as her blunt manner, unorthodox style, and Wes Studi mohawk seldom rub people the right way. But when "Damaging" Daniel Craig comes knocking, seeking her help to solve a 40-year-old murder case, Lisbeth gets on board, and the two embark on a harrowing journey of discovery. What starts as an investigation becomes a personal quest for them both, and as they get nearer the truth, they are plunged into ever greater danger. Mr. Fincher takes time to tell this story, and his slow-but-sure style of mounting tension will leave your palms sweating, your eyes unblinking, and your heart contorted into a twisted grin -- in a good way!
I missed the bus on the Stieg Larsson novel trilogy, nor did I catch the original Swedish film adaptation. But as per usual, I revel in my ignorance, because it puts me squarely and neutrally in the capable hands of Finch. After sulking through fifteen minutes of commercials and audibly reacting to half a dozen trailers, I am plunged into Dragon Tattoo's mesmerising first scene, and as I breath deep and double-down on my Twizzlers, I know that this story has never been told better. The outstanding leads are joined by an excellent supporting gang, including Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard, and Christopher Plummer, who has never been better. The cast also features an impressive array of Swedes, with the likes of Ulf Friberg and Yorick van Wageningen delivering the goods! Even so, I could have used Peter Stormare.
Like Se7en and Zodiac, Girl with Dragon is a perfect specimen of the crime thriller. It is scary, moving, intelligent, and alluring as all hell. As the protagonists' investigation becomes their personal obsession, you'll be right in the same boat: hungry for the truth, thirsty for justice, and generally peckish after a 158 minute film. We've got some freshly hatched dragos coming to HBO in April, and we should at least get a peek at Smaug in next December's The Hobbit --but for now, why not usher in the Year of the Dragon with Mr. Fincher's bleak and frightening movie?
Now that's a mystery I can't solve!
Dorien Sez: A
Watch the Trailer: