MTV has already hailed David Fincher's latest journey into darkness as the BEST FILM OF 2011. A lot of top notch publications have reviewed the movie very favorably. Some have called it "brilliant" or "electrifying" and almost everybody agrees that Rooney Mara utterly inhabits the character of Lisbeth Salander.

In general however, reviews for the American remake of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO seem divided in to two camps. One side loves it and praises it for the excellent movie that it obviously is. The other camp flat out refuses to review the movie itself preferring instead to go on endlessly about how the story was a best selling novel and everybody already knows the story and plus there was a Swedish film version so why in the world would you want or need to see the new American version? 
I'll tell you why you need to see the American version: David Fincher. That's why.
Fincher is simply put one of the most talented and unsentimental directors working in Hollywood today. The director of SEVEN, FIGHT CLUB, ZODIAC, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON and THE SOCIAL NETWORK makes movies on a technical and artistic level far above the average Hollywood or Swedish hack.
But back to my point---the latter group of critics generally don't bother to actually talk about the film's merits at all save for possibly mentioning Rooney Mara's amazing performance. I suspect this is because most movie reviewers have little to no first hand knowledge or experience actually writing scripts or stories of any kind much less any practice setting up lights, putting film in a camera or cutting that film into a serviceable movie later on. 
Most critics have never written the score for a film. Much less recorded that score. Most critics have no conception of what it is like to be on a film set or even a lowly television commercial set for that matter so they essentially don't know what to talk or write about. These reviewers are simply ignorant and they show their technical AND artistic ignorance in their reviews. 
These opinionated ladies and gentlemen don't have the ability to talk or write seriously and professionally about film-making itself so they make do by blathering on about the violence in DRAGON TATTOO (out of context) or the supposed similarities between the American and Swedish versions. I'm referring to an entire generation of movie critics who probably don't know much about shutter speed, lens apertures, focal lengths, long lenses vs. short lenses, tungsten bulbs vs. fluorescent, film cameras vs. digital cameras, they wouldn't know a dolly from a jib from a Techno-crane. They have no idea how to use Avid or Final Cut Pro to edit a movie. These people have never had to record sound on a set or location. They've never made props or created costumes. They wouldn't know how to correctly apply make up to an actor's face if their lives depended on it. These people therefore, in my opinion, ought probably to be reviewing children's books or maybe food recipes or plants for your garden---not movies.
The negative crowd refuses to deal with the vast differences between the Swedish and American versions, neglecting any discussion of David Fincher's far better script, far tighter construction, better pace, better acting, immensely better lighting, staggeringly better camera movement, better staging of actors (how they enter and leave rooms and where they are positioned in the frame), better production design, make-up, costumes, effects, fantastic color grading (which is now an integral part of all modern movie making).
Absolutely no review that I've read so far even mentions in passing that the movie was digitally shot (without film) on the revolutionary 4K RED Epic camera system (do they even know what 4K is?) which is changing movie making every day more and more and which accounts for David Fincher's ability to shoot with available light in very dark settings. There are some scenes in this movie that are literally illuminated with one bare light bulb! Try that with actual celluloid film stock and you'll understand what a modern wonder digital cameras really are.

Also frequently left out is any mention of the Oscar caliber editing of Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter or the stunning musical score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
But I mean seriously! Come on!  We're talking about CINEMA here people. We're talking about an art form that is primarily VISUAL. Still there's a whole world of critics out there completely unequipped to write about cinema in any substantive way. All these people can do is tell you whether they "liked it" or not. And they have little to no ability to really tell you why. 
I've even had a few heated discussions with friends who say naively "Well you're interested in those [technical] things because you make films and work in television." I find statements like that to be wildly ridiculous.
What else is a movie made of?
Aren't these departments and areas of the film-making process exactly what a movie is in the end? I'm interested in all those areas and achievements precisely because they are the reasons why a film is well made or not. They are largely the reasons why a film is "good" or "bad".  And don't forget I included screenwriting in my list above of what makes Fincher's version so much better.
I continue to find it amazing that these negative reviewers basically just don't bother to deal with the film as a movie unto itself. They tie it again and again to the previous, inferior Swedish movie---which the knowledgeable critic should know was merely 2 parts of a 6 part made-for-TV mini-series in Sweden called MILLENNIUM. It is true the Swedish films were cut down a bit and then released in America as theatrical movies but their origin was in television and in my opinion the Swedish films look and sound like made for tv movies while Fincher's version looks amazing. Sounds amazing. Is amazing.
If you happened to read the book on some beach vacation back when it was first published or on an airplane flying someplace and you want to see the definitive film version then the only one to bother with is the vastly superior David Fincher film. Just my opinion. But then I've worked on real sets, put film in cameras, set up lights, written scripts, scored music for tv and film and edited an award winning short film. What would I possibly know about movies?

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