I must say that I expected a lot from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Simply from reading online reviews and hearing about how great the book series is, I figured this movie would have an unbelievable plot, one that I’d remember for a long time. Now, the movie was great and didn’t necessary fall far short of those expectations, but given what it was, they were a bit lofty to begin with.
What this movie boils down to is essentially a crime thriller, in which two main characters are desperately searching for the killer of a girl who mysteriously disappeared 40 years ago. Note that the movie is a long one (just near two and half hours), but it also completely earns that running time and doesn’t slow down for a second. Overall, the movie is very, very good. It has lots of twists and turns, along with extremely compelling characters with fascinating backgrounds. And though the story doesn’t exactly ooze originality, it’s very well written and well constructed, in ways that give it its own unique flavor.
So why didn’t the movie necessarily live up to my expectations? Well, they were too high to begin with, to start off. Aside from some unusually compelling characters, the movie boils down to a pretty typical killer hunt type of story. There are a lot of unexpected elements that come into play, but also a twist that’s pretty obvious right from the get-go. And though this isn’t necessarily a complaint as much as it is just a picky mention, the movie does fall into a few cliche moments (like a few convenient scenarios that would have likely turned out much worse for the characters had this been real life). I usually don’t appreciate those moments in a movie that’s trying to be so realistic, but again, it’s a picky complaint.
Also, the movie kind of digs a little deeper into itself than its prepared to come out of. It wraps up all of its plot’s elements quite nicely for the most part, but there are honestly so many of them that the film stumbles a bit in its pacing in the last half hour as it tries to finish all of them up. The climax of the story comes something like half an hour before the end of the movie, and though I appreciated that no plot holes were left, some of the revelations didn’t necessarily have to be delayed to the point where they were all shoved into the end. This in no way made the movie boring, but it certainly didn’t follow the gripping pace of the previous two hours, in my opinion.
I realize I’ve been concentrating on the negatives a lot, but these complaints are generally minor (and honestly take longer to explain than my compliments). The movie is terrificly compelling and clearly very well made. The actress who plays Lisbeth is nothing short of phenomenal, and the actor playing Mikael is also quite good. There are also some very emotional and interesting moments, although be warned that some of them are very brutal, including rape, torture, and some horribly gruesome deaths. However, those who have seen movies such as Seven and Zodiac will find a lot of similarities here, which is definitely something that makes the movie a little less memorable (it’s very good, but doesn’t quite have the originality or punch of Seven nor Zodiac). I look forward to seeing the other two movies in this trilogy though, because I truly enjoyed the characters and the style of the filmmakers. Not the most memorable movie I’ve ever seen, but a great movie to pick if you’re bored this afternoon. 8.5/10