"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is awesome. It's the top-ranked flick on our list of the Best Movies of 2011. What more do you need to know? David Fincher's adaptation of the first book in the Millennium Trilogy is as faithful as it gets (with an important deviation here and there), complete with gruesome twists and stellar performances—indeed, it hosts what could very well be the greatest performance of the year.
If all that isn't enough incentive to check out "Dragon Tattoo" this week, here are five other reasons you need to see this movie.
Rooney, Rooney, Rooney
Need I say more? Rooney Mara is Lisbeth Salander, in a way that not even Noomi Rapace quite captured in my opinion. The "Social Network" actress' transformation into the titular tattooed computer hacker is breathtaking, her commitment to the character a sight that all movie lovers must behold. Mara isn't just a shoe-in for an Oscar nom next year — chances are very, very good that she'll be our next Best Actress winner.
Craig and The Vangers
Rooney steals the show, but her co-stars are all perfectly cast as well. Daniel Craig's Mikhail Blomkvist is a note-perfect interpretation of the crusading journalist of Stieg Larsson's novels. Christopher Plummer's Henrik Vanger is appropriately charming and tortured. Stellan Skarsgard brings it, as he always does. But the best co-star of them all: the cat. That poor, poor cat.
So much of the success of "Dragon Tattoo" depends on the visuals, and to the surprise of no one, Fincher does a brilliant job bringing this world from the page to the screen. The director's vision of Hedestad is a perfect replica of the Hedestad from my and, I suspect, many readers' imaginations. The film makes great use out of an unspeakably beautiful landscape to play host to such a thoroughly horrific tale. And speaking of horrific…
Yes, those scenes. You know the ones I'm talking about. Fincher's "Dragon Tattoo" does not shy away from or tone down the graphic nature of the tale's most deeply disturbing scenes. The only thing harder than watching these moments is trying not to watch — it's virtually impossible to look away from the horror Lisbeth faces and, in turn, delivers.
As you've likely heard by now, the ending to Fincher's "Dragon Tattoo" deviates somewhat from the original Swedish novel and film. Don't freak out: it's a good change. Nothing drastic, but an important enough tweak that makes the mystery's big reveal play out smoother than ever before. "Dragon Tattoo" fans owe it to themselves to check out the American adaptation if only to see how they feel about the new, altered ending — and to see Rooney, Rooney, Rooney, of course.
Are you seeing "Dragon Tattoo" this week? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!