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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2012

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"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-march-2012-tattoo

Synopsis

After a conviction for libel, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) accepts a job with industrialist Henrik Vanger (Plummer) writing his memoirs.  The real purpose however is for Blomkvist to investigate the 40-year old cold case involving the disappearance of Vanger's niece Harriet.  Henrik is convinced she was murdered and even after exhaustive detective work, the crime still remains unsolved.  Mikael goes about uncovering the many dark secrets of the complex Vanger family who still all live on the island of Hedestat.  Along the way, he hires Lisbeth Salander (Mara), the investigator originally retained by Vanger's lawyer to perform Blomkvist's background check, to assist him.  Salander is relentless and quickly uncovers several gruesome murders that coincide with Vanger Industries different business locations.  Just as they both discover the killer, Blomkvist is captured and tortured.  Salander manages to rescue him in the nick of time.  In the end, the truth is uncovered and unless you've already read the book, it's a twist you won't expect!

Specifications

  • Sony Pictures
  • 2011, Color, R, 2 Hours 38 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer
  • Directed by David Fincher
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

I read all three of Stieg Larsson's books voraciously and saw the Swedish films based on them.  This US release is far superior to those productions.  It follows the book pretty closely except for the last bit (you'll see what I mean) which was a head-scratcher.  It's hard to award five stars to any movie based on a famous novel.  My benchmark for this is BBC's Pride and Prejudice from 1995 which is nearly perfect.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comes pretty close though and I look forward to the next two films with high expectations.  Rooney Mara received a well-earned Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Lisbeth.  She is amazing in the role.  Daniel Craig serves up his usual balance of machismo tempered with humility.  And Christopher Plummer brings his vast acting experience to another excellent performance.  The thing I enjoyed most was the foreign film feel created by director David Fincher.  It suited the material perfectly.

Technical

The image is very sharp with excellent detail and deep contrast.  Color is mostly natural except for the various tints used in the different scenes.  Outdoors it's very cool; appropriate for a country so close to the Arctic Circle.  Indoors it's very yellow or green in the more industrial spaces.  I found the tints excessive, especially indoors because the image became very flat, almost monochromatic.  Blacks were nice and rich in the nighttime scenes with excellent detail.

Audio was very good except for the dialog which I found somewhat receded in the soundstage.  Compounding the problem were the accents used by the different actors.  While accurate, it made a lot of the speech hard to understand.  Action scenes made excellent use of the sub and surrounds.  Things like car crashes and Lisbeth's motorcycle had great depth and slam.  Music also sounded great with an excellent score penned by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.  I especially liked the Led Zepplin tune Immigrant Song used in the opening credits.  It's a cover but a good one.

Extras

The package I reviewed contained audio commentary on the main feature disc along with a second disc that has over four hours of featurettes, interviews and other behind-the-scenes material.  It's one of the most complete bonus feature discs I've ever seen.  Also included are a DVD copy and a digital copy code to download the film from Ultraviolet cloud service.