The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Film (with rating): The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (R)


Studio: Sony
Pictures Home Entertainment


Summary: When
a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) investigates the disappearance of a
wealthy patriarch’s niece from 40 years ago, he enlists the help of a pierced
and tattooed computer hacker (Rooney Mara). Together, they uncover a lot more
evil than they ever imagined.


Review: I
arrived late to the Stieg Larsson book party. Many people told me to read
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” but I could not get past the
initial few pages. Boring! Dry and oh so boring! I was told to persevere
through the first 50 pages, and then “trust me, you won’t be able to put
it down.” Well, 50 pages came and went, and the only reason I kept reading
was because of my stubborn Irish ways. But around page 200, something clicked.
And there I sat, enthralled and literally flipping the pages as quickly as I
could, hungry for the next chapter. I tore through  the next two books in Larsson’s trilogy with remarkable
speed. I was hooked.


So when I first saw “Dragon Tattoo’s” trailer, I
knew I had to see the film, despite my usual reservations surrounding beloved
books turned into Hollywood blockbusters. This time around, I was not
disappointed in the least.


David Fincher’s movie (which comes rather quickly on the
heels of the Swedish film versions of all three books) was spot-on good. It
cost a slick $90 million to produce, and while it may not have quadrupled that
total in the box office, it is a mesmerizing, cinematic success. And
“Tattoo” is perhaps one of the most amazingly cast movies I’ve ever
seen. I’m putting this one up next to “Harry Potter” for casting
success. Even by just watching the trailer, I could identify every character.
Spot on.


But  not only
did they look the part, these actors could deliver. Craig was fantastic as the
brooding and bruised Mikael Blomkvist, but it was Mara’s Lisbeth Salander who
gets the most attention. I am not entirely sure she was selling an Oscar-worthy
performance, but I am sure she did a fantastic job. In the books, Salander is
an extremely complex and multi-faceted character. Mara did a great job trying
to bring those nuances to the big screen.


Overall, the movie did not differ significantly from the
book and even accomplished some fat-trimming, which made the story flow even
better. My husband, who has not yet read the books, had no trouble keeping up
with the rapid plot flow or story twists. So while I found it handy to have
previous knowledge of the story, it is not necessary at all.


Extra highlight:
Check out the “Characters” extra


What to serve for dinner: The film is set in Sweden, so cook up a plate of
Swedish meatballs (


2 slices fresh white bread

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 pound ground chuck

3/4 pound ground pork

2 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups beef broth

1/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 200 degree. Tear the bread into pieces and
place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside. In a 12-inch
straight-sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add
the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from
the heat and set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk
mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black
pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan.
Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.


Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low
heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees. Add the meatballs and saute
until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to
an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.


Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low
and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned,
approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until
sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy
reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with
the gravy and serve with boiled egg noodles and a side green salad.


What to talk about over dinner: What was different between the book and the movie?
Which did you like more, book or movie? Who was your favorite character? What
do you think of the casting? Which movie has the worst casting? How do you
think the second book in the series will by shaped in Hollywood? What scene was
the most difficult to watch? Did you figure out the ending? Were you rooting for
Salander? What is your favorite book-turned-movie? Have you seen the Swedish
film versions with  Noomi Rapace?
Better than the American version? Who makes the better Salander? What would you
do with Salander’s computer skills?