1/23/12

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO - REVIEW


The original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a film I expected a lot from. Overhyped upon its release, it was really being pushed as THE next must-see thriller series. Bourne was done, Bond and Ethan Hunt were on their gap years: this was the sexy European fix we needed.

What we got was a cross between a TV movie-style investigation, a classic whodunit and a sexy, modern, kickass thriller. It hardly blew me away but it worked and although I was no fan I acknowledged it was well made and was a good example of the genre. Now David Fincher is in as director for the remake and the likes of Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard make up the cool US cast.

The result?

It's the same.

Well, more or less the same.

You've got a swanky Placebo-style music video to get you started as a kind of dark, modern, gooey Bond opening title sequence complete with fire, Led Zepellin AND hornets. Not sure how useful that really was but I enjoyed it: it was fun. The rest is the same kind of thing as the original: Blomkvist (Craig) is working on some missing woman/ex nazi family case and Lisbeth (Mara) acts all tough, gets raped by some perverted social worker and eventually helps out the reporter with his case. It's all very watchable and well made: Fincher knows what he's doing, so do the actors. The ending is slightly different (and slightly better) but essentially what you've got here, as redundant as that sounds, is pretty much... The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

And I still don't really like it!

I've been toying around with why I just can't bring myself to enjoy this story. At first I just blamed the rape subplot which I felt wasn't really necessary and was just there for shock value more than anything else. Then I blamed the character of Lisbeth, which I just never liked for some reason. But truthfully, I think my problem is just with the story itself and how filmmakers have adapted it so far. The whole case Blomqvist works on has never really interested me and what pissed me off in the original still pisses me off here: it's blindingly obvious who the bad guy is!

Gee, do you think the guy who's first introduced to us lit only by headlights from below when it's pitch black outside and looks like he's about to eat Daniel Craig might be the culprit?

Hey! What am I? Hercule Poirot over heeeere?

Then there's Lisbeth. Now I get that, as a character, she does whatever she wants whenever she wants to do it: she doesn't fuck around. I like that that's both a good thing and kind of a curse. I just don't like whenever the film tries to make us love her as a character because we're not really given any reason to really get attached to her at all. There are some witty lines here and there and the film weirdly turns into a bit of a buddy comedy when she meets Blomqvist but I just don't buy it. I needed something else, a reason to care about Lisbeth and her situation. Just like one scene where we sit down with her and see a side of her we hadn't before. Kudos to Fincher for adding that scene at the end which does add a bit of heart to the whole thing but by then it's a little bit late to start caring.

The way both films portray Lisbeth I found to be a bit presumptuous. Ooh, she's bisexual! Isn't that off-beat and weird?! Huh? HUH???

Um, no. Not really. You... strange old man... movie.

On the whole: check it out, by all means. Neither films are bad in any way: I just happen to find them flawed. They are good, strong movies and chances are you won't nitpick as much as me and enjoy the films completely so go see them and make up your own mind.

This is one franchise I'll probably need to investigate on a tiny bit more. Bring on that fire!

And those fuckin' hornets!

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