tongue-tied lightning

The Best Films of 2011: #20 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
February 2, 2012, 5:34 PM
Filed under: film | Tags: , , , ,

Despite the significant problems I have with the film, stemming primarily from the source material, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the films I’ve devoted the most thought to in 2011. It fits nicely into Fincher’s oeuvre and at its most basic can feel like an amalgam of Zodiac and Se7en. Taking the surgical focus on the how rather than the why from the former and the grotesqueries and convoluted, occasionally cheap whodunnit plotting from the latter (perhaps to its detriment). It also shares one of its most interesting themes with The Social Network, technology as a means of class warfare. What I mean by all this is that despite everyone questioning his motives in making the film, it feels like the apotheosis of all Fincher films.

The focus on technology is particularly poignant given that of all living filmmakers, Fincher is arguably the most talented at making use of new technologies and seamlessly folding them into his films. Ever a detail oriented filmmaker it should be no surprise that Dragon Tattoo is possibly the most technically proficient film of 2011. The editing, cinematography, sound design, art direction and use of digital color grading is all top notch and integral to the text of the film. And Trent Reznor has been working in such synchronicity with Fincher over his last two films it’s hard to imagine anyone else scoring his films at this point.

Which is to say nothing of the ensemble, featuring a career defining performance from Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig’s best work to date, playing off his Bond persona in what could’ve amounted to nothing more than an amusing bit of stunt casting. Mara’s embodiment of Lisbeth Salander is the most conspicuous aspect of the film and she is one of the more intriguing characters to grace the screen in quite some time, which probably accounts for the success of the otherwise insipid novels. Fincher’s film on the other hand might be the second best of his career, it’s hard to imagine a better episode of Scooby Doo.


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I agree with you that this film is the culmination of Fincher’s major themes, and it’s technical proficiency should make it a strong contender in the editing, sound editing and sound design categories for this year’s Oscars. My own reservations of the film are slightly different from yours though. You can read my review on my blog The Mind Worm here: I’d also be interested in yur views on my top 10 of 2011.

Comment by Darwin Franks

What lirenatibg knowledge. Give me liberty or give me death.

Comment by Gerry

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