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'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' Review: How Is This A Christmas Movie?

'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' Review: How Is This A Christmas Movie?

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I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas Day. Mine was pretty solid with no real complaints, but now it's the day after Christmas, so it's back to work here at Kulture Shocked. After we finalized the films for our Christmas Movie Marathon and I realized that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo made the cut, I had a definite "What the HELL where we thinking!" moment. However, I was killing some time perusing Facebook and a friend of mine posed the question "Is Die Hard truly a Christmas movie?" and while reading the comments that followed, I found the perfect answer to any of you that claim that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or its predecessor from 2009 does not deserve the title of a Christmas film.

Let's look at it from a scientific point of view:

  1. Is there a Christmas tree or presents?
  2. Is there snow?
  3. Do they use Christmas as reason to do anything?

All three of these criterion occur during the course of this film and it should be noted that for the purposes of this review, the focus will be the 2011 Hollywood remake. I will happily concede that the Swedish original from 2009 is absolutely fantastic, but getting you people to watch a movie in a foreign language is just about as impossible as Chris Brown making up his mind on Karrueche Tran. Yup, pretty damn impossible, but hey, at least watching a foreign film with subtitles isn't the same as a five figure mistake.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo follows the same vain as Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, perhaps even Die Hard. Content of story doesn't scream Christmas movie, however, it's a gimme since the movies are taking place during the holidays. This fact doesn't detract from how great this movie is though. David Fincher is steadily becoming a top five director of mine if he isn't already. I know we've already talked at length on The Kulturecast about some other Fincher staples, and his take with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is no exception. I actually went the extra mile on this and watched the 2009 extended edition followed up by Fincher's 2011 take and I have to say they're frighteningly similar. It's almost like they're the same movie. Wait a minute...

The 2011 cast adds the big budget clout and a little more realism to some of their performances than their Swedish counterparts. Most notably, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, and Stellan Skarsgård provide absolute knock out performances. When I first saw this film during its release, Skarsgård's character actually frightened me some, especially towards the end when the first big reveal that Martin had taken over the killings after his father died. His turn towards the end of the film is reminiscent of Kevin Spacey's John Doe in Se7en. This movie is billed as a mystery crime drama, but it definitely has some excellent psycho-thriller aspects that further the disturbing nature of the film.

The film's score and sound design are also a standout part of the film. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did a fantastic job on the soundtrack with this being their second film with Fincher. Mystery-dramas and psycho-thrillers traditionally suffer in this area since a film's score can enhance or ruin a movie goer's experience. The score to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo absolutely enhances the experience and simply maximizes the exposure of the emotional journey this film takes the viewer on.

While I will adamantly claim the brilliance of this movie, it is rated R and rightly so. There are horrible and heinous things that occur in this movie and some of it can be hard to watch. There are some heavy themes on rape and just overall violence towards women that can make this movie hard to endure. However, if you have the stomach for it, David Fincher's telling of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a wonderful adaptation of the novel by the same name and is absolutely worth the watch. You won't be disappointed.

Final Say: Watch It

 

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