Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Film Review & Tribute Photo-shoot

David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (GWTDT) is arguably one of the most and least anticipated films of the year.  It really depends on who you ask. 

Fincher disciples, who have faithfully followed everything he has released (including Se7en, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), couldn’t be more excited after the acclaimed director announced: “we intend to earn our R-rating. If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about.”  And of course, there are diehard fans of Niels Arden Oplev’s Swedish film-version of the Stieg Larsson novel.  They have vehemently protested the making of the American adaptation and plan on boycotting the film.

In spite of the protests, Sony Pictures will undoubtedly win at the box-office – thanks in great part to their successful Internet-campaign that generated huge buzz (  But hype aside, I wanted to see this film with an open mind.  As much as I am a Fincher fan and lover of the original trilogy, I wanted to judge this film on its own merits, and for the most part, I did. 

After a brief prologue, the movie opens with an elaborate Bond-like credit sequence (set to Trent Reznor and Karen O’s great cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song), which has the lead actors (Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara) screaming, clawing and swimming in slick oil.  It’s a sexy and fast-paced music video that seems misplaced and ultimately doesn’t match the tone of the film. 

Forty years after his niece’s disappearance, prominent businessman, Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), hires journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) to determine which one of his ruthless relatives is responsible for her death.  But when the trail goes cold, Blomkvist enlists the help of Lisbeth Salander (Mara), a troubled, leather-clad computer hacker with incredible investigative skills.  Together, they tie the girl’s disappearance to a series of bloody murders and begin to expose a dark and unspeakable family secret – one that inevitably places their own lives in jeopardy. 

GWTDT is a sleek and stylish mystery thriller.  It’s an absolute visual feast.  Impressive are the elegant set design, the chic wardrobe, the edgy score, the stunning cinematography and the captivating direction.  In addition to all its style, Fincher’s GWTDT has substance; however, fans of the original may prefer that film’s understated charm. 

The performances are first-rate. Craig is perfectly cast as Blomkvist – a seemingly tough man, until he encounters danger. Craig superbly characterizes both his strength and fragility. Mara is convincing as the smart and lethal Lisbeth, and Plummer gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the charismatic Vanger.

You might think that seeing a remake so soon after the original would make for a dull experience, but you would be wrong (well, in this case). Fincher’s GWTDT is engaging and well-crafted. It may not win your heart over the original, but it still deserves your attention.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tribute photo-shoot credits:

Models: Lauren Pettigrew (twitter)
             Terry Jansen

Make-Up Artist & Motorcycle provided by: Maria Velve

Hairstylist: Marjo Asselbergs (

Wardrobe: Liz Windsor of The Factory Collective

Lighting: Dorothy van Grootheest

Special thanks to all of you who made this shoot possible.

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