Today I'm focusing on his most recent film, fantastic Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I love this movie and Rooney Mara's performance as Lisbeth is my win that year. I'm still hoping we'll see the sequels one day, but in the meantime let's focus on the brilliant things in the movie that I love:
1. The film barely starts and look who it is. Maester Luwin from Game of Thrones.
2. The cold open. It's short but it's brilliant.
3. The opening credits - surreal, frantic and violent set to Karen O's fantastic cover of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song which was a genius choice of a song.
4. Mikael buying a pack of smokes and a lighter, having one drag and then throwing everything away. As a smoker I always notice a waste like this. But later it's clear his girlfriend doesn't want him to smoke so this is Mikael making sure he won't - he really needs a cigarette but he also doesn't want to slip too bad. Also the thing I like in this movie - that people actually smoke in it. Nowadays if they show characters drinking in every scene or smoking weed it's all good but God forbid someone lights up a cigarette. Oh, no, that's awful! I swear people had less problem with Walter White cooking meth than with any character in movies/TV nowadays who smokes.
5. This badass image:
6. The introduction of Lisbeth, it's just brilliant.
7. Goran Visnjic's hilarious moment of utter horror after Lisbeth remarks how Mikael doesn't perform oral sex on his girlfriend often enough.
8. The fact that the names in the story and the location weren't changed to please American audience.
9. Christopher Plummer's words about his family. We don't see enough of them to know they are all awful in the movie, but his conviction sells it.
10. This little moment of homage as Trent Reznor, the leader of NIN is a part of the duo that composed the music for the movie. Also? It's ser Dontos from Game of Thrones wearing the shirt.
12. Lisbeth scratching the price tag off the gift. It's such a small detail but yet another one that grounds the movie in reality.
13. Mikael buying the cat food for his new friend. He is such a sweet guy.
14.The book Mikael is about to burn deals, among other things, with differences between men and women, one of the big themes of the film
15. The shot of Lisbebth looking so helpless as she leaves the hospital where her caretaker is.
16. The cat cuddling to Mikael on the pillow. This is what Gustav does.
17. How insanely blue Daniel Craig's eyes are in this movie. Also - it's the only film in which I find him attractive.
18. Lisbeth taking care of her friend. She isn't a sociopath. She cares about those who deserve it.
19. The frantic fight at the subway station. It's insane.
20. Normally that scene would be uncomfortable to watch but the way Fincher shoots it makes it downright unbearable to look at.
21. The shocking shot of Lisbeth limping on her way home.
22. Camera showing us what Bjurman wrote on the check. It's sickening.
23. The fact that it is in this moment we see her tattoo for the first time. It's been born out of pain. Another thing - most of the bruises are real - the rape scene took so much time to shoot and so much repetition Mara actually got this bruised during all of this. The actor who played the rapist locked himself in a room after shooting it and spent a whole day crying.
24. The famous upside down shot of Lisbeth. You just know she is planning her revenge.
25.When tattoo artist tells Lisbeth it's going to hurt she just shrugs. She's beyond pain.
26. One of the most satisfying revenge shots in recent memory:
27. 'She's had a rough life. Let's not make it rougher". I love that in a movie filled with awful men there are good guys too.
28. Lisbeth's shirt. It's perfect.
29. This exchange. Mikael is actually slightly disgusted Lisbeth would think he would hurt her.
30. The fact Mikael actually brought her breakfast.
31. This exchange- whenever I think of this movie I think of this scene. Mikael's respectful way of speaking to Lisbeth and her sudden interest and light in her eyes as she hears his proposal.
32. Lisbeth taking the file and then dropping it on the desk because she already remembers everything Mikael told her. David Fincher said Rooney Mara used to do this to him with his notes.
33. This little moment of humor:
34. This exchange. You just know Lisbeth had to answer this question many times before. Just another detail to make her into more realistic character you can feel it's human as opposed to someone fake.
35. Lisbeth being herself and Mikael being amused by it:
36. The scene were Lisbeth shares her findings with increasingly confused and horrified Mikael.
37. The cute way in which Lisbeth is annoyed with Mikael's clumsinesses:
38. Mikael reaction to what was done to the cat. In the movie where one character is unmoved by all the horrific stuff it's good to have a character that shows normal reaction to cruelty.
39. James Bond, ladies and gentlemen:
40. The lead up to the sex scene:
42.Mikael being utterly fascinated by Lisbeth:
43 Lisbeth making Mikael breakfast in the morning:
44. And this exchange:
45. Martin's clinical torture room. What a horrible place to die in.
46. The cute way in which Lisbeth says 'hey, hey'.
47. Orinoco flow by Enya. Apparently Daniel Craig said that the first thing that plays on his ipod should be used as a song in the scene, he hit play and there it was, accompanied by laughter of the cast and crew.
48. This. You gotta love how brazen Fincher is. He casts Stellan Skarsgård, the guy who usually plays creepy, as a killer, almost pointing out to the fact that it's not who committed the crimes that matters, but the whole investigation is the focus of the film. But he does more - early in the movie while Mikael is having dinner at Martin's house there is a noise. Martin claims that it's wind but given what we find out later it's clear it was one of his victims screaming. I think it would work even better without him later admitting he had a girl in his torture room during the dinner, but it's still a brilliant little touch.
49. The horrific shot of a plastic bag over Mikael's head, shot from his perspective.
50. This line from Martin. He genuinely doesn't know what to do.
51. This great shot of Lisbeth sneaking in as Orinoco Flow is still playing:
52. So many people misinterpret this scene. They claim it's as if Lisbeth was giving away a piece of her independence here, asking Mikael for permission. But she is not asking for a permission to kill, she is asking for a permission to take this revenge from Mikael. Martin hurt him, it's his case and she respects that. She takes vengeance very seriously.
53. This fantastic shot:
54. Mikael not pressing on Lisbeth for information and respecting her privacy. And keep in mind he's a journalist.
55. The code word. It's awesome.
56. Put your hand back in my shirt.
57. Someone saved me too.
58. The scene in which Lisbeth asks Mikael for money. She only needs to ask once. He says yes, without asking what it's for or giving her any hard time. He trusts her. Lisbeth almost cannot believe his kindness after everything she has been through in the past.
59. Even when she wants to blend in, Lisbeth stands out.
60. The quick moment of Lisbeth wiping her lipstick off the cup. She leaves no trace behind.