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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
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Sampler Album
Digital Album
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Regular Album
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Arranged, Performed, and Produced by:
Trent Reznor
Atticus Ross

Solo Vocals by:
Mariqueen Maandig
Labels Icon
Null Corporation (Sampler)
(December 2nd, 2011)

Null Corporation (Digital)
(December 9th, 2011)

Null Corporation (Regular)
(December 27th, 2011)

Null Corporation (Deluxe)
(February 6th, 2012)
Availability Icon
This score's albums are a commercialized nightmare. The six-track sampler was made available free for download at the composers' website a week before the release of the retail download product and over three weeks prior to the street date of the regular commercial 3-CD set. At the very end of 2011, a 2-CD "For Your Consideration" promotional set was pressed and leaked to the secondary market. The "Deluxe" set released in February of 2012, limited to 3,000 copies and containing the vinyl option, retailed for $300. The regular 3-CD set, by comparison, was initially offered at $14. A lossless download option was available as well for $12.
Nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, and a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... only if you're a Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross enthusiast or a bandwagon soundtrack fan who cares little about the proven procedures that it takes to actually craft an effective film score.

Avoid it... if you don't want the intellectual elite of the film music world to label you as hopeless git, especially if you're contemplating the ego-stroking, $300 "deluxe" album for this ineffective and aimless sound design.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 1/5/12
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: (Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross) The people of Sweden have to be horrified by all the attention that the publishing and film industries have given to Stieg Larsson's contemporary crime novels. Published and adapted after the author's death, the first entry of his "Millennium Trilogy" of stories has been translated with the title "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and adapted into multiple feature films, each of which not very complimentary of Swedish society. Through Larsson's lens, the people of that country are violent rapists, practicing Nazis, incompetent investigators, and immoral capitalists, not to mention that all of this behavior happens in a disturbingly bleak environment. That gloomy world is the backdrop for a group of unhappy characters in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, all of which suffering from societal misrepresentation or ills of acquaintanceship. The owner of a magazine who has lost a libel case against a wealthy and corrupt business mogul is played by Daniel Craig, and he is given a second chance by another corporate CEO who wishes to use the journalist's skills to investigate the disappearance of his niece 40 years earlier. In return, the journalist will be financially supported and provided with dirt on the businessman who sued him. On a parallel collision course of a timeline is the story of Lisbeth Salander, a troubled young woman who lives under state supervision and is an expert computer hacker. When they team up to conduct the investigation together, they grow unexpectedly close and wade through the corrupt layers of the target family until the plot's somewhat upbeat conclusion. Amidst this journey, however, are gruesome stories and depictions of rape and revenge, torture and executions that have garnered the film some of the harshest available ratings in each international venue. Director David Fincher has never made much of an attempt to avoid such unsavory topics, and the music for his violent thrillers has often been supplied by some of Hollywood's most competent composers for the genre. The likes of Howard Shore, Elliot Goldenthal, and David Shire have all provided extremely troubled but effective ambient environments for Fincher's previous projects, their scores deeply challenging listeners using intelligent methods of striking unpleasant but close emotional bonds based upon the most poignant moments in each project. When the director struck gold with The Social Network, however, his collaboration with former Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross was cited as one of that film's greatest assets, leading to their involvement once again with Fincher on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in 2011.

It's impossible to separate and review the music that Reznor and Ross created for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo without taking into account the "meta" aspects of its existence. Thus, there are two concurrent debates about this soundtrack that need to be addressed: first, the effectiveness of ambient sound design as a film score and, second, the way the music was created, edited, and then marketed on its own. For some listeners, there will be no way to divide this debate, for the methodology involved in the latter group of issues is clearly influential on the music's application in context. It is beginning to become widely acceptable to score a feature film of the 2010's by supplying its filmmakers with a library of generalized music that they, with the help of a music editor, can pick through and insert into the picture where necessary. By request, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is precisely such an effort. Reznor and Ross received a few directions from Fincher and then sequestered themselves in a process during which they wrote three hours of music that was very basically inspired by the storyline. They did not bother themselves with synchronization points, specific emotional crescendos for key narrative moments, revisions to individual cues to account for changes, or an overall arc of movement from start to finish. They essentially took the opportunity to write what amounts to a solo effort, one that could have been written by the pair for no specific affiliation with a movie and sold with success as its own project. Fincher then took a minority of this mostly sparse, atmospheric material upon delivery and dropped into the picture like a second sound effects track. Entire selections out of these two to eight minute passages were neglected in the final cut, while others deemed more effective were used in multiple places. This technique is not new; it has been around for decades, actually. But rarely do these kinds of scores function to their fullest potential like one tailored to each specific scene. Filmmakers and composers argue otherwise when a movie "requires" only ambient music, but this rhetorical claim is a cheap excuse for laziness in the name of art. Members of the press and industry, as well as fans of the artists, will contend endlessly that this approach is "radical" and therefore "effective." High praise showered down upon Reznor and Ross immediately for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, sales numbers skyrocketing and positive press abounding. What you will note, however, is that few of these supporters actually have a deep understanding about the effort that it takes to create an effectively tailored film score, even ones that may seem as obnoxious to some as Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean. By comparison, Reznor and Ross are lucky, over-hyped novices.

Ratings Icon
Average: 1.76 Stars
***** 48 5 Stars
**** 49 4 Stars
*** 85 3 Stars
** 204 2 Stars
* 546 1 Stars
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These two are going to destroy movie music
A Loony Trombonist - September 14, 2021, at 6:38 a.m.
1 comment  (26 views)
Graham - September 14, 2013, at 7:52 p.m.
1 comment  (797 views)
Filmtracks Are Clueless
Wow - April 3, 2012, at 3:50 a.m.
1 comment  (1190 views)
Just stop reviewing ambient film music   Expand >>
Phil - March 1, 2012, at 10:51 a.m.
8 comments  (3627 views)
Newest: August 28, 2012, at 2:19 p.m. by
Drew C.
Rob D - February 12, 2012, at 6:14 a.m.
1 comment  (899 views)
Why you hate it   Expand >>
supermario - February 7, 2012, at 7:23 a.m.
2 comments  (1720 views)
Newest: February 17, 2012, at 2:06 p.m. by
Thomas Allen

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2011 Sampler Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 34:34
• 1. Hidden in Snow (5:19)
• 2. People Lie All the Time (4:08)
• 3. What If We Could? (3:59)
• 4. Oraculum (8:16)
• 5. Please Take Your Hand Away (5:53)
• 6. Under the Midnight Sun (6:59)
2011 Regular Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 173:30
2011 Awards Promo Tracks   ▼Total Time: 83:16

Notes Icon
The digital download albums contain no artwork other than the cover. The 3-CD set is housed in a large-format, unfolding case, but its awkward three-page insert includes no extra information about the score or film. The 2-CD promotional set comes in a slipcase with no additional information, either. The "Deluxe" product contains extensive extra materials, highlighted by an 8GB USB memory stick containing a lossless presentation of the music.
Copyright © 2012-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are Copyright © 2011, Null Corporation (Sampler), Null Corporation (Digital), Null Corporation (Regular), Null Corporation (Deluxe) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/5/12 (and not updated significantly since).
If you don't know what a "git" is, imagine someone worse than a twit, fool, or idiot, but not quite as annoying as a wanker, arsehole, or twat. Count on the British, of course, for such delightful terminology.
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