Oscar reviews: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo balances terror and grace

by Andrea Shea / Pop Columnist • February 23, 2012

Webdragon tattoo sony pictures
Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig
Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures
Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig
Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures
The feel-bad movie of the year delivers exactly what was advertised, and in the best way possible. Want guns and explosions? Got ‘em. Mystery and intrigue? Check. Graphic rape? ...Yeah, that too. At the end of the day, David Fincher’s unflinching film adaptation of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a little bit of absolutely everything, and is well worth its two and a half hour run time. Daniel Craig is no slouch as disgraced reporter Mikael Blomkvist, but it’s Rooney Mara of Social Network fame who positively kills it as damaged hacker Lisbeth Salander,  walking the tightrope between terrifying and unexpectedly endearing with effortless grace. And as long as they’re on the trail of a “killer of women,” don’t expect the adrenaline to stop pumping for even a second.

Although not flawless — it takes well over half the movie for Mikael and Lisbeth to even meet, let alone work together, making the inevitable romance between them seem bludgeoned into the script with a bat at absolute best — Dragon Tattoo is a rock-solid Oscar contender with pitch-perfect writing, acting, and appropriately gray-scaled sweeping shots of the Swedish countryside. And if nothing else, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ moody score not only enhances scenes, but — much like in their Social Network predecessor — sometimes positively makes them.