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The reel review with Joe:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo entices and frightens

By JOe Carriere
On January 10, 2012

When I heard that Stieg

Larsson's internationally best selling

novel The Girl with the Dragon

Tattoo was being made into a movie,

I was thrilled.

The book was a terribly attractive

read that kept me up well

past 3 a.m. on multiple occasions,

and I hoped that the movie makers

would channel the tension and

shock value from the book into

an enthralling, appalling viewing

experience that almost hurt to


Well, it did hurt to watch. Some

of that hurt came from the shock

of being visually exposed to the

alarming and sometimes brutal

acts of sex and violence that are

merely described in the book,

which director David Fincher is

anything but bashful in depicting.

These scenes are as dark and

unsettling as anything from Fight

Club or Se7en, so if you don't have

the stomach for such things, avoid

Dragon Tattoo. This isn't a Nancy

Drew kind of mystery.

Rather, it's a Lisbeth Salander

kind of mystery, and Rooney

Mara's performance as the shortfused,

edgy heroine is both intimidating

and exciting.

She portrays all of Salander's

ups and downs in the film convincingly—

from nearly broken

to breaking bones, standoffish to

tender, hopeful to heartbroken—

capturing the soul of one of the

most dynamic, dangerous characters

in recent popular literature.

He's not doing ridiculous

stunts like James Bond, but Daniel

Craig is also fun to watch in his

role as Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative

journalist who is attempting

to solve a forty-yearold

murder mystery in the hopes

that the man who hired him will

help him to bring down a corrupt


Craig doesn't steal any scenes

like Mara does, but it's still exciting

to watch him search out the

bad guy and figure out how to

deal with the difficult people he is

forced to work with.

Trent Reznor brings as much

intensity to the film as Mara does

with his chilling, introspective film


The music creeps at the edges

of everything happening in the

film, as if you can hear the anxiety,

frustration and determination

of the characters as they try to figure

out who to trust and who to


When things get brutal it

builds into cold ferocity, making

the graphic scenes even more


Some parts of the film were

too confusing, however. Those

who have read the book will realize

that some parts of the plot

were drastically shortened in the


Though this abbreviation is

practical, as the film is already two

and a half hours long, the shortened

parts feel rushed and lead

to an anticlimax that stifles earlier


Those who haven't read the

book might end up totally confused,

because I even had difficulty

following some parts of the


Though there are a few weak

scenes, overall The Girl with the

Dragon Tattoo was a good movie.

It didn't do the book justice in

some respects, but book-to-movie

adaptations rarely do.

If you can tolerate the graphic

scenes and want to see how the

worldwide phenomenon translates

onto the screen, this is one guilty

pleasure worth experiencing.

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