The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Hollywood's take on the hit Scandinavian murder-mystery is criminally good in hi-def

Having staked a claim as Hollywood’s modern master of crime cinema with 2007’s Zodiac, David Fincher returns to the genre for this English-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s bestseller.

While some may think the film redundant given the quality of the 2009 Scandinavian version, Fincher’s is a remarkably faithful and stylistically superior adaptation of the source material. Indeed, it’s only real problem is that as good as Rooney Mara is as Lisbeth Salander, nothing she does can banish memories of Noomi Rapace’s iconic performance in the same role.

Picture: Thanks to its deliberately bleak and cold aesthetic design, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo isn’t necessarily what you’d call an attractive move. But nobody could possibly deny that it’s a beautifully rendered Blu-ray.

The AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode is impeccably sharp and detailed, ensuring that textures appear true to source throughout. Even more importantly, the shadowy blacks that play such a large part in the film’s visual palette are absolutely rock solid and completely free from crush.

As for technical deficiencies with the encode, beyond some light banding (possibly a hold-over from the original HD source) there’s nothing to be seen. No compression artefacting. No sharpening. In other words, it’s about as good as you could possibly hope for.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: As fine as the Blu-ray’s picture quality might be, it’s still trumped by the disc’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo finds Fincher working once again with composer Trent Reznor and sound designer Ren Klyce, and the result is so unique and audacious that it’s frequently difficult to decipher where the film’s score ends and sound design begins. Thankfully, the BD’s lossless 5.1 mix ensures that the transition to the home environment is flawless, replicating the above effect whilst simultaneously handling the expansive surround steering and tonally rich dialogue. For my money, it’s up there with the very best mixes available on Blu-ray.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: As fans will have come to expect from Fincher’s previous films, …Dragon Tattoo arrives on Blu-ray as a two-disc set with plenty of bonus features. The first disc is where you’ll find another of the filmmaker’s engaging audio commentaries. Over on the second disc there are various character-related interviews, vignettes and galleries, a discussion of the original novel, 12 production featurettes, a multi-angle breakdown of the title sequence, trailers, a visual effects montage and much, much more.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: The only mystery yet to be solved is why every Blu-ray release can’t be this impressive

Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £25 Approx, On sale now