ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David Fincher

Starring:
Daniel Craig/Mikael
Rooney Mara/Lisbeth
Christopher Plummer/Henrik
Stellan Skarsgard/Martin
PLOT-CRUNCH
Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) is hired by a rich dude (Plummer) to uncover a 40 year old murder. Blomkvist eventually tags up with maladjusted, tats/piercings loving chick Lisbeth (Mara) and they both try to crack the case before the case cracks them!
THE LOWDOWN
Stieg Larsso’s novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor which means Men Who Hate Women) has got some “sexy Venus legs” to it that's for damn sure. In 2009 it sparked a Swedish film adaption (directed by Niels Arden Oplev) which became an international hit. Then two cinematic Swedish follow ups based on Larsson's sequel books (which were released after his passing in 2004) were gunned out: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Luftslottet som sprängdes). And now the King of dread himself, David motherf*cking Fincher that is, gets into the Tattoo mix with his US retelling of the story. Not a remake of the Swedish flick! Just another adaptation of the book. How did it fare? I’ve been Finchered!

Now I saw the Swedish movie last year and dug it. I watched half of the second film (fell asleep on it), hence never bothered "doggystyling" the third one. I can't say I was initially pumped to see Fincher’s movie for the sole reason that the Swedish flick is still fresh in my mind and I know the ins and outs of the story like the back of my sack. I was afraid that I would be seeing the same film twice, but in English with different actors. Did I? More on that later. With that stabbed in your gut and ripped upwards, Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was an effort to be reckoned with, one that was pretty much tops on every level. Let’s put this one on the autopsy table, slice it open and see what we find. David Fincher's rendition launched strongly with a trippy credits sequence that put me in the proper mood for the back-handing that was to come. Set to a brilliant cover of "The Immigrant Song" (by Trent Reznor with Karen O’s “was she masturbating while singing the song” sensual vocals), the opening can be described as semi James Bond, on acid, drenched in black sludge and with a Goth-ish edge. Pretty f*cking awesome in my book! After that jive, I was packed and ready to rock, off to the races I went!

Now it will be hard for me to not compare this movie to its Swedish counterpart. I won’t be able to help it! Sue me! The first thing that clocked me in the jaw about Fincher’s version was its scope. Fincher obviously had ample dough to toy with, hence the locations were more visually striking; the bridge, the gloomy winter setting, the isolated shack, the creepy interiors, the urban landscapes, all eye popping with deliciously grim and atmospheric cinematography (by Jeff Cronenweth) tagged to its ass. Furthermore, we had Fincher’s overall potent style coming in like a freight train with no Steven Seagal on it to save the day. Fincher is an auteur with a very distinct flair; Oplev in my useless opinion of course, shot his version in more straight forward manner. The Finch's compositions, his fly angles and his elegant camera movements resulted in a macabre visual feast! And they were all wrapped up in a brilliant editing job at that! Result? An oppressive, moody, dangerous and sexy world to explore! Arrow in Morbidland! Sold! Character wise; I dug the lead players here more than I did in the Swedish version. Where Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth was very “man-ish” and fairly two-notes in personality, Rooney Mara’s interpretation of the role was a pinch more feminine (hence more appealing to me, I'd tap her, not Rapace though) and she displayed a gripping mixture of toughness/vulnerability that made me warm up to her more than Rapace’s Lisbeth. Maybe if I’d be a lesbian, I’d dig Rapace in role the most, but I’m not. I do like to eat pussy though, but I don’t have tits. What the f*ck am I taking about? Nevermind. So… yeah… Rooney Mara’s performance was a revelation as to the range the dame has and the fact that all the piercings she sported were real, you got to esteem her commitment to the character. Much respect girl and I hope you get an Oscar nomination, you mucho deserve one!

On his end Daniel Craig did fine as the poon loving journalist. He was definitely “tougher’ than Michael Nyqvist interpretation in the Swedish film, some will dig that, some won’t, I did, roll credits. The supporting cast was stellar across the board as well. Hard to go wrong with Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard and Steven Berkoff (Col. Podovsky from Rambo 2 yo!) ). They all played their roles with conviction and helped elevate a flick that was already up there in the quality department. Add to all jazz some intense and sexually deviant bits of nastiness, a well written screenplay by Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) that was IMO superior to the sometimes convoluted script for the Swedish movie, an easy pace that had me in its grasp the whole way (I didn't feel the 158 minutes run time) and an unsettling score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (which I'm listening to as I write this crap) that jacked up the eeriness of the piece and you get another Fincher three punch hit! BRAIN FART ALERT: This just popped in my noggin: this version explored the courtship between mack-daddy Mikael and piecing broad Lisbeth way more than the Swedish film did and that amplified my fondness for them. So kudos for that! END OF BRAIN FART.

On the downside, yeah it kind of blew that I saw the Swedish version first cause even though Fincher's take on the tale had some differences and nuances not found in the first adaptation (I was told Fincher's movie was closer to the book, which I haven’t read); the core storyline and the twists were the same; hence I knew the who, how, why off the bat and that did take away from the experience. And was it me or did the flick not go as far with its nastiness as I hoped it would have?. I think Fincher, I think bold and fearless. Here I felt like the dude held back a tad (or did the censors hold him back). Maybe I'm just a sick f*ck. Finally, am not sure how I feel about the final frames. Am not saying they were good, or lousy; I just don’t know what to think of them. Do with that what you will. Overall, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hit the freaking spot for this jerk. Will it for you? Bend it over and find out!
GORE
This bitter pill was mean spirited to say the least but not overtly gory. Apart from a dismembered “I won’t tell” we get some light blood and moments of suggested brutality. This wasn't SEVEN yo!
T & A
We get Mara’s mini titties, her glorious heart shaped butt and her shaved twat. And there was also some girl on girl kissing. It should be spat that lots of the female nudity was far from arousing due to the context it was set in. The ladies and gay dudes get Daniel Craig shirtless and a peak at his butt crack. I had to remember that Craig butt crack for a day so I could write it down here… I don’t do that for just anybody ;)
BOTTOM LINE
If I go by the feedback online thus far; Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo seems to be a love it or hate it affair both by fans of the Swedish film and Tattoo virgins. Personally I loved it, the moody imagery, the stellar acting (Mara in particular owned it hardcore), the engaging storyline, the easy pace, the stylish camera movements and the rocking soundtrack all contributed in me having a sour theater going, Holiday Season, good time. Yeah I would have dug it more if I didn’t know the story and its twists already (cause I saw the Swedish version), I expected further gore from Fincher and am still not 100% on them final frames, but on the whole, this was a KILLER sit down. I for one hope that Fincher tackles the sequels; from what I saw of them, they need to be Fincherized and I’m game for more Lisbeth and Mikael tomfoolery. BRING EM!
BULL'S EYE
When he was 15, author Larsson witnessed the gang rape of a young girl. He never forgave himself for not helping her - her name was Lisbeth. Do the math!

A fav of mine, Carey Mulligan auditioned for the role of Lisbeth 3 times.

While filming the diner scene, Ellen Nyqvist, daughter of Michael Nyqvist, the actor to play Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish version was working there as a waitress. After finding out, they wrote extra lines for her and she wound up interacting with her dad's successor: Daniel Craig.
Strikeback
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6:22AM on 03/27/2012
I havent seen the swedish film nor read any of the books but consider myself interested in anything Finsher does (I dug "ZODIAC").

The film was kinda middle of the road for me. It looks great and the murder mystery is sorta involving (until the climax where the villan gets too much of a silly Dr.Evil vibe). But the whole thing is way too drawn out for no good reason really. I thought that after everything shes put through, Lisbeth would get some better character exploration than that
I havent seen the swedish film nor read any of the books but consider myself interested in anything Finsher does (I dug "ZODIAC").

The film was kinda middle of the road for me. It looks great and the murder mystery is sorta involving (until the climax where the villan gets too much of a silly Dr.Evil vibe). But the whole thing is way too drawn out for no good reason really. I thought that after everything shes put through, Lisbeth would get some better character exploration than that fucking cheesy closing theme song ("Is your love strong enough?" - gimme a break!). I also had trouble buying some of the story - all these killings and disappearances and nobody in 40 years kinda connected the dots as that they were connected even when the victims share a very obvious link? Dont wanna get into too much spoiling here but if youve seen it you properbly know what I mean.

I didnt regret seeing this film but it didnt rise above the average made-for-TV crime drama, although it looks better and has better actors.
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10:50AM on 01/04/2012
I always associate Steven Berkoff with Victor Maitland from Beverly Hills Cop. I haven't seen this movie yet, but I just wanted to through that in there.
I always associate Steven Berkoff with Victor Maitland from Beverly Hills Cop. I haven't seen this movie yet, but I just wanted to through that in there.
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10:25AM on 12/31/2011
My favorite film of the year after Drive. An incredibly moody, sinister and engaging flick with universally great performances, an awesome soundtrack to boot.
My favorite film of the year after Drive. An incredibly moody, sinister and engaging flick with universally great performances, an awesome soundtrack to boot.
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6:32PM on 12/26/2011

UK

just got back from the film.
I thought it was great, especially the soundtrack. Opening credits seemed out of place for the movie but very cool in their own rights.
I thought the guy who played the parole officer / ward officer was a little poorly cast and not a patch on the original for hate and slime.
just got back from the film.
I thought it was great, especially the soundtrack. Opening credits seemed out of place for the movie but very cool in their own rights.
I thought the guy who played the parole officer / ward officer was a little poorly cast and not a patch on the original for hate and slime.
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5:06PM on 12/24/2011
David Fincher does it again! He is a favorite of mine and everything about this film was amazing. The directing, cinematography, editing, music, acting...you name it! Everything was superb! I loved Noomi's performance in the original (which I found a bit overrated), but I actually preferred Mara's take on the role. Lisbeth Salander has become a favorite of mine, character wise. I also preferred Daniel Craig in the role of Mikael; I found the original guy a bit bland (not bad, just
David Fincher does it again! He is a favorite of mine and everything about this film was amazing. The directing, cinematography, editing, music, acting...you name it! Everything was superb! I loved Noomi's performance in the original (which I found a bit overrated), but I actually preferred Mara's take on the role. Lisbeth Salander has become a favorite of mine, character wise. I also preferred Daniel Craig in the role of Mikael; I found the original guy a bit bland (not bad, just bland...but I think that had more to do with the script).

The ONLY flaw is that like you, I saw the Swedish film, so I knew most of the twists in this film...but the few changes they made were nice, especially with one part of the ending (which I won't go into).

This is definitely in my top five of 2011!
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3:16PM on 12/23/2011

Finally

a very good review has been written for this movie. I had no interest in seeing this whatsoever until I read this review. The one thing that bothered me most about this remake was thinking how would Fincher make it different from the Swedish version and would his additions and vision make it more watchable. This review answered those questions without giving anything away.
a very good review has been written for this movie. I had no interest in seeing this whatsoever until I read this review. The one thing that bothered me most about this remake was thinking how would Fincher make it different from the Swedish version and would his additions and vision make it more watchable. This review answered those questions without giving anything away.
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2:55PM on 12/22/2011
As someone who has never read the book or seen the Swedish version, I LOVED it! It was, in my opinion, Fincher's best since FIGHT CLUB. And about the ending, I thought it was great but I don't want to go into detail because I don't want to spoil anyone.
As someone who has never read the book or seen the Swedish version, I LOVED it! It was, in my opinion, Fincher's best since FIGHT CLUB. And about the ending, I thought it was great but I don't want to go into detail because I don't want to spoil anyone.
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