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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

See It Or Skip It: See It

Leaves You Completely Paralyzed

David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is literally an out of body experience. You don't feel like you're watching it on a screen, you feel like you're inside the film experiencing the characters at their best and worst moments because you're so mentally unable to focus on anything. It's like electric shock therapy. Your brain literally zaps. There's just something about Fincher's vision mixed with Rooney Mara’s perfection that leaves you completely paralyzed.

Rooney Mara really IS perfect as Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant investigator and computer hacker in Stockholm who has been brutalized and hardened by the world. The film takes place during the winter and Jeff Cronenweth’s masterclass cinematography of the dark cold icy landscapes and exteriors and the dimed neon lighting of the interiors all feel like home to Lisbeth. She's never known warmth and doesn't even want it. She's so exhausted in her inner suffering that she's shut down and just wants to be left alone.

Daniel Craig’s Mikael Blomkvist is looking to be left alone too as he's a journalist in the midst of a public scandal in the form of a legal and professional fallout with wealthy CEO Hans-Erik Wennerstrom (Ulf Friberg). Blomkvist is hired by Henrik Vanger (A very warm and lovable Christopher Plummer) to investigate the 40-year-old disappearance and presumed murder of Henrik’s grandniece Harriet who was 16 years old when she vanished. In exchange, Henrik will deliver evidence against Wennerstrom restoring Blomkvist’s credibility.

Blomkvist and Salander don't cross paths until more than halfway into the film and this is for the best as you really get to see who they are on their own. Salander in particular has quite a storyline which at times is so brutally uncomfortable you'll want to sink into a hole and die. There's a pivotal turning point for her where she gets her revenge and all I can say is that it is the most satisfying scene in the history of cinema. Rooney Mara ought to have won the Oscar for this scene alone. When she's finished, you see her from behind walking out the door in silent triumph. There is such beauty to be found in the violence she inflicts on someone who deserves it like no one deserves anything else.

By the time Salander and Blomkvist meet, all that's left to learn of them is how they'll get on together. Their dynamic is very quiet but intense. It speaks loudly amongst the backdrop of the dark Swedish winter that surrounds them. These are both people that are by nature, creatures of independence. They're used to having to save themselves but in the end, these people save each other.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ends with Salander riding off into the cold night on her motorcycle. She's on to whatever's next. Despite all her traumas, she's never been one for living in the past. In conclusion, I'll acknowledge that despite its brilliance, very few people will have the stomach for this film. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is not a film that's meant to make you feel safe but the very existence of someone like Salander makes me feel safe. The world doesn't deserve people like her but people like her deserve the world.

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