Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Logline: Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.

A deep analysis of the movie Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It’s been a few years since we have seen this film and we are instantly reminded why it made an impact and won so many awards.Unfortunately the only Oscar win was best editing but that was well deserved. Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter did a mastery job of building suspense from a great script and great directing but the true skill was in their edit, which delivered. It had two more nominations for sound and anyone who knows film making knows that real magic happens in the sound. Trent Reznor’s score didn’t get nominated but it’s damn good. The shame is that Rooney Mara got nominated but didn’t win. Her performance was incredible and carried the movie, after all not too many actors can stand scene to scene with James Bond. Yeah we are Daniel Craig fans too. But let’s look at the story and why it worked so well as one of this centuries top thrillers.

The conventions of a great thriller.


1) Unwitting but Resourceful Hero:

We have a great investigative reporter who is broken after recently being framed by a rich billionaire. After a lifetime of great detective work he made one mistake and it has cost him greatly. He is forced into the journey when the court case has nearly bankrupt him and he has no choice but to take the gig.

2)  Dangerous Villain:

Who makes a great villain? Someone powerful with lots of money, from a family of generations of power and manipulation. Money power and corruption.

3) High Stakes:

A detective who never loses but is coming off his first failure and has had his reputation damaged. He must prove himself all over again or his career as an investigative journalist will be over.

4) Life and Death Situation:

He takes the gig and must stay on the deserted family island to be close enough to the family to investigate. Then a rogue bullet almost hits him but was it an accident or does someone want him dead. Is he a threat to uncover the murder? Or are there other more serious things at risk. Who wants him dead? In the end he will come face to face with the killer and come close to death himself.

5) The movie is thrilling because?

 It’s a classic story of good vs evil. The rich and powerful versus the weak and broken who must over come.

All thrillers have three structural elements.

1) Big Mystery
Who killed the niece a generation ago.
2) Big Intrigue
Can an investigative journalist defeat a rich billionaire family and solve the murder that no one has been able to solve for a generation. The patriarch wants closure and he’s running out of time. A journalist with the assistance of a young bisexual mentally disturbed computer hacker can beat the family.
3) Big Suspense
Is the mystery what is seems and is she really dead? If she was killed why did no one ever find her body? Will this rich powerful family allow the mystery to be solved and why are they hiding from the truth?
If you haven’t seen this movie in a while it is currently being run on Netflix so catch it for free if you have a membership.