Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dragoness unbound

Watching David Fincher’s latest opus is a different experience altogether, whether or not you’ve previously seen the first film adaptation, or read the seminal books. From the filmmaker’s command of music video imagery during the opening credits to the florid storytelling, his unique style is indelibly imprinted. 

Often eerie and distressing, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has an unpredictable titular character in Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), an efficient investigator tasked with getting information on  disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig).

Mikael, meanwhile, is hired by aging industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to solve the mystery of his niece’s disappearance several decades ago. Mikael eventually teams up with a hesitant Lisbeth, whose researching skills, determination and tactical ingenuity just might provide the edge needed to figure out the baffling enigma.

Clocking at two hours and 40 minutes, the film gets to elaborate on both characters’ situations separately; we get to see just how complex Lisbeth is, and we understand enough of Mikael’s life and drive to sympathize with him. The film gets irrevocably dark when it details Lisbeth’s horrific ordeals, but it does become fittingly and darkly humorous when she’s out for revenge and inflicting serious damage.

Mara stands out and dazzles as the ink-adorned Lisbeth. The oft-misunderstood, socially inept but intelligent misfit is a brilliant conundrum that’s just mesmerizing in its inexplicability. Mara previously appeared in “The Social Network” and the rebooted “Nightmare on Elm Street,” unrecognizable here because of the drastic, total makeover, and bound to snag more career-defining roles thanks to this unforgettable portrayal.

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” will be shown uncut at selected cinemas beginning Feb. 1. 

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