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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Master director David Fincher leans on music-video stylistics in this disappointing adaptation

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Craig proves once again a generous actor, maintaining the center of gravity while Mara shreds every scene she appears in. Mara acquits herself well as Salander; she’s believably tough, if not quite as flamboyantly wounded as Rapace’s take. Fincher, despite his credible reputation as a fearless director, flinches in the face of Salander, however, and it occasionally mars Mara’s artistic expression. The hacker scenario promised in the opening credits never pays off, unless the essence of anonymous espionage involves Google and Wikipedia; Fincher guides our attention toward endless visual cues that explain Salander’s attitude better, apparently, than he thought Mara could (the T-shirt she wears when first meeting Blomkvist, in a nod to David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, reads “Fuck you you fucking fuck”). One glaringly odd bit of false mannerism meeting overeager stage business comes when Salander confronts one of her abusers in an elevator: After intimidating him perfectly well, Fincher can’t resist adding the swoosh of her hoodie, framing her against the door (a process that requires one too many steps to be considered badass), which then opens to throw her into silhouette. It’s painfully choreographed and, worse, wholly unnecessary.

Still, the mystery wraps up nicely, and Craig takes on the brutal climax full-force. I only wish someone – anyone – would eventually do right by Lisbeth Salander. After all she’s been through, doesn’t she deserve it?

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