Dragon Tattoo Cinematography

David Fincher's films, especially so in his early years, have reflexively been labelled flashy and stylish; after all, he was and forever will be the MTV guy, right? Yet it is no question that Fincher's visual language has matured; since ALIEN³ days, for example, where he made use of some more extreme camera angles, or even FIGHT CLUB, which, by nature of its narrative, is told as a visually inventive feast.

A look at Fincher's latest, however, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" shows that Fincher's cinematography is still as precise, still as captivating and moody, still as perfectly camera controlled (in still frames as well as in motion) — but to my eye there is no sense of flashy or stylish. "Dragon Tattoo" seems almost a calm exercise in masterful shot composition, very classic, very much in service of the story and characters. There is no imposed cleverness, no photography that draws attention to itself, other than being very well done — and with the remarkable exception of Lisbeth Salander's upside-down shot, drenched in blood red.

Evan E. Richards has compiled a huge, feature length thumbnail gallery for this film (and many others) on his website to allow for a placid review of its Academy Award nominated composition, angles, colors and lighting. Try to remember your favorite frame from the whole film — it's probably on there, and in high res!

Thanks, Mark, for pointing us to it.

For "Dragon Tattoo" and many more stunning cinematography reviews: http://evanerichards.com/2012/2598


  1. Great, thanks for the link Mark.

    When I saw this shot:


    I immediately thought about this shot from Butch Cassidy ;)



    They are kind of similar looking :)

    1. Love stuff like that, thanks for pointing it out, they really look much the same.

    2. If you want more... ;)

      When I saw this shot in Chinatown:


      I was thinking about this shot from Fight Club ;)


      And this shot from The Game:


      ... made me think about this shot from Citizen Kane:


      I know, it could be just my mind playing tricks on me ;)

    3. Hey Mikze, I sure don't know about your mind playing tricks on you, but I really like the train shot and the Chinatown one. And wouldn't it make sense for Fincher to pay tribute to his favorites in this way.

      Of course there is only so many ways to shoot a scene. Especially the couple-in-bed-after-doing-it shot is a classic, I suppose. Nonetheless, I like the notion that Fincher is giving a nod to the greats there.

  2. This might be interesting for David Fincher fans this is a short film starring his daughter Phelix Fincher http://vimeo.com/15345816 Called Remember.

    1. Thanks for sharing this. If David Fincher ever retires, thankfully this blog already has the right title to go on cheering for Phelix. :) Is she pursuing a career in the movie business, anybody know?

    2. Nope, she's not currently planning on that.