The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Analysis

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a book written by Stieg Larsson. It was first published in Sweden in 2005. After that, this book became popular on the international level. The movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is based on this book. It was directed by David Fincher. David Fincher is prominent for his thrillers. There are such movies as: Fight Club, The Game, Seven, Panic Room, Zodiac, and others among his works. Though the movie was shot in Sweden, it was released in the USA in 2011. David Fincher made a remake of Swedish film, which was produced earlier, in 2009. Cinematography was made by Jeff Cronenweth. The leading roles were given to Daniel Craig (Michael Bloomkvist) and Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander). Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor composed the music for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

David Fincher perfectly develops each of the movie’s sequences, carefully provides the composition, music, lightening, interior design of the movie. Dynamic movement and image flickering are characterizing features of the film.

The mise-en-scenes are detailed. Every character is painted in a minute detail. Lisbeth is an image of an estranged from the society rebel. They form an impossible tandem with calm and steady Michael. There are scenes due to which we can see from the actor’s position who is in charge of the situation; for example, the raping scene or when Martin took Michael to the basement. In the first example, a spectator can see Lisbeth’s guardian standing over her who is shot from the above and from the back at first. This mise-en-scene shows Lisbeth in a hopeless situation with no chance to get out from it. Later Lisbeth can be seen shot from the same angle. It is clear that the vengeance will take place while watching these moments.

The Red Digital Cinema Camera Company’s Red MX was used while shooting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The film director came to a decision that the choice of the light sources should be unusual. This feature of the movie opens a new perspective of the story. Shadows, silhouettes, and darkness are the characterizing features of the film. Such choice of the light resources makes the audience watch the events in the movie from a new angle. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was shot in 167 days. Jeff Cronenweth did the camera operating. The film was produced in 483 hours, and 443 hours were selected for the footage (Restuccio). There are many flashbacks in the movie during the investigation of Harriet’s mysterious disappearance. Their inserting is made professionally, and the viewer understands that those are memories and not the reality at once.

The introductory caption of the film must be praised separately. It is a masterpiece intrinsically. It presents a fast montage style editing. Various things are shot from different angles. This caption is dark, and the darker it gets, the louder the music is. The editing of this piece is done up to the mark. The shots indeed change with such a rapid speed that the audience is not able to understand what is going on. In such a way, it is unpredictable what to expect further on from the film.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo contains more than 1,000 visual shots. There are visual enhancements and shot stabilizations among them (Restuccio). The choice of colors and lighting was corrected and improved with the help of computers and different up to date filming technologies. The scenes of the movie are characterized with the employment of gloomy, shady and dark colors. Therefore, the general mood of the movie is depressive. The lighting is indirect and soft. The last one intensifies the oppressive impression from the film too.

The film was shot in Sweden. This fact also contributed to the general depressive mood of the movie. The winter laid its stress on a low and cool-colored light. This added a special dismal and obscure spirit to the movie. Though not only snow was added to a number of shots, the viewers are not able to tell which shots are real and which are enhanced.

Even mentioning such an important holiday as Christmas does not smooth somber and wistful pictures. The perturbed events of the past give birth to a new brutality. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo represents a constant dramatic image due to the choice of dark and gloomy colors. All the main scenes of the film including violence and sexual harassment are the direct confirmatory references to this. There is no doubt that coloring and lighting of the film are perfectly suitable, and they qualify the plot.

The fact that film has five Academy Awards cannot be omitted. There are such awards as: Best Film Editing, Best Actress for Rooney Mara, Best Sound and Best Sound Mixing, and Best Cinematography among them.

Concerning the film editing, it was made by editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall. They also did it for Fincher’s film The Social Network. Both Agnus Wall and Kirk Baxter consider the scene of raping to need the biggest amount of editing. They tried not to hide it but to spotlight (Restuccio). This decision was right since the scene is not about the abominable act of the raping and repulsive moments of the revenge, it is about the impact it has on the characters.

The film itself starts from Lisbeth’s and Michael’s life paths, but the last ones are completely different. The editors interconnected Lisbeth’s and Michael’s lives as close as possible. Such editing gives a spectator an opportunity to understand that their life paths will cross with one another.

The film also speaks to the viewer through music. Sometimes it even screams. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were the authors of more than suitable soundtracks for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Various interviews say that David Fincher had been listening to Led Zeppelin while creating the movie in Stockholm. After a while, he decided it would be a good idea to use Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant song” in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Moreover, he believed it will make a gorgeous soundtrack for the movie. He shared his thoughts with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

The idea proved to be more than successful, especially when Reznor and Ross added more craziness to it. The craziness of the leading characters is reflected through the movie’s soundtracks. The violence present in the music corresponds to the violence in the plot throughout the movie, for example, in an episode when Martin is going to kill Michael. Karen O’s howling vocals make a scary and anxious impression on the audience which intensifies the movie as much as possible. The movie itself is tensed enough due to its scenes, but the chosen music increases the effect with immense power.

Everyone who had his or her hand in creating The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is worth to be respected. Dark, gloomy and dreary colors of the movie intensify the mournful lines of its plot. The correct choice of shooting angles and mise-en-scenes helps the audience to illustrate the main points better. The editing is made in the effective way and contains many flashback inserts. The soundtracks fit perfectly. They underline the general crazy and ominous mood of the film.

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