PictureThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo finally comes to UK Blu-ray with a solid 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.35:1. Detail is solid throughout, seldom wavering, with no noticeable softness, no edge enhancement, and only a minor bit of unexpected grain: for the most part the picture has a nice sheen of filmic grain, but occasionally it gets out of hand. The film largely maintains a decent level of contrast, with little bleeding and only a couple of the night sequences struggling to remain outstanding in their visual representation of the material. The colour scheme excellently depicts the Swedish locales, with dominant glare-inducing whites fervent in the setting. Interiors are rich and skin and facial tones are consistently authentic, from Salander’s pale demeanour to Blomkvist’s world-weary lines. Black levels are strong but not quite perfect, although overall this is a decent and rewarding video presentation.
SoundOn the aural front we get a marginally disappointing Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in the original Swedish language, complete with perfectly serviceable English subtitles. I strongly recommend this mix over the terrible English dub and, even though it has been criticised for not being of a lossless High Definition flavour, the track is still very good indeed, and works well for the material. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently, largely dominating the frontal array, and the effects are well-observed. Sure, there are no crazy moments of directionality, where sweeping sounds cross your living room; nor are there any bombastic moments where things explode, but this is simply not that kind of movie. And what we do get in this movie is presented very well and very respectfully here. The solid score, which kicks into touch at a few unexpected moments – to give the movie a welcome, beat-laden shot of adrenaline – brings the surrounds into better (but far from exceptional) use, and we do get a little bass thrown into the mix. Sure this could never be used to properly showcase your home cinema equipment, but it is obvious that it was never intended to. A DTS-HD Master Audio mix would have certainly been welcome (and will no doubt be present on the eventual Millennium Trilogy Ultimate Editions) but this track certainly does not detract from your enjoyment of the movie, even if it does not do a tremendous amount to enhance it.
ExtrasAnother portent of an eventual special edition release is the almost complete lack of extras. The 13 minutes of Interview material with Actress Noomi Rapace and Producer Soren Staermose are interesting, with plenty of trivia about preparations for the movie and the lengths Noomi went to in order to become such an iconic character, but they simply do not make up for the lack of Audio Commentary, comprehensive Making-Of, Picture-in-Picture material and – most importantly – the extended cut. We also get a Vanger Family Tree feature, a Photo Gallery and some Trailers, including one for the upcoming sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire (which also gets a brief production expose).
VerdictA tremendously powerful, dark and involving mystery thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo perfectly infuses an elaborate plot with interesting characters, seamlessly integrating both plot- and character-driven ideals, and making for one of the best murder mystery thrillers that I have seen in a long time. With a firm grounding in the superior founding material that was the first instalment in the late Stieg Larsson’s internationally acclaimed bestselling Millennium Trilogy, and some potent performances by the lead actors, this is one of the those rare cinematic adaptations that truly lives up to the expectations of the original source book’s fans.
On UK Region B-locked Blu-ray we get solid video, a serviceable audio track, and a distinct lack of extras, which does not make for a great package. But, honestly, you have to see this movie, even if you’ll no doubt end up having to pick up a superior edition (with lossless tracks, extended cuts – that are already out in Sweden – and a bevy of extras) when it is eventually put together. And, even if the exercise is largely pointless, it will still be interesting to see what David Fincher makes of this top notch material with his US interpretation, which will probably be released late next year. In the meantime, and whilst waiting for the second chapter, The Girl Who Played with Fire, to hit cinemas (August 27th in the UK), I strongly recommend you check out this great film. It’s intelligent, adult, filmmaking, and one of the best thrillers that I have seen this year.
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