Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Get out your computers and rape whistles, we're reviewing the English adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo! Man, how good is that trailer? Like, super good? 
A shiny new penny to the person who tells me why I don't ink more often?
If you've read the books or seen the Swedish version, you know what you're in for. If not, get ready for an intense, rape-filled mystery. 

Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is a disgraced journalist, fresh from being sued for slander by a big corporation. He's approached by Henrick Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to solve a 40-year-old case involving the murder of his niece. Later, Mikael is joined in his investigation by badass cyberpunk hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Roomey Mara). Rapes ensue. 

The first thing you need to know about this movie going in is that it is very graphic and very rapey. There is just a ton of rapes. This is the movie in which everyone gets raped. They use ALL OF THE RAPES. And I can't speak for the book, but I'm fairly certain there's at least a 30% increase in rape compared to the Swedish version. There's a lot of rape is what you should take away from this. 

If you can't stand rape or can only take a bit of rape, this is not the movie for you. And with director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network), it's even more graphic and intense. If I seem a tad desensitized to all the rape...well, yes...that's what happens when you put too much of something in your story. It was way too much rape for my taste. The first rape is intense and detestable, the second makes up for the first, and then the movie boards the rapey train down to Rapeville. But that's more of a criticism of the story rather than of this incarnation of the movie. 

Having said all that, I do like this version better. This kind of story is a perfect fit for David Fincher. The pacing's quick, the action is intense and suspenseful, and the visual style is a beautiful kind of messed up. The music team of Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch has also found its place. If you saw The Social Network and listened to the intense moody tones, you'll know that they flourish here. 

One of the problems I have with this version is that the pacing is too quick at times and it's difficult to understand what exactly is going on. I miss who's who and who did what, yet I still have a general sense of what's going on. But even with the speeding up of everything, the movie is very long and it doesn't help that it has 20 endings. This is one of the few things I thought the Swedish version pulled off better. In that version, it was Mikael's story. It started with him, had a bit of Lisbeth in the middle, then wrapped up nicely with Mikael. In this version, it feels like it switched protagonists mid-movie and stuck with Lisbeth, most likely becuase she is the more interesting character. 

Rooney Mara gives a more subtle performance than the previous Lisbeth, Noomi Rapace. There's no question Roony kills the role, but I really couldn't decide between her and Noomi as the better Lisbeth. Don't make me choose!  I can say without question that I prefer Daniel Craig. He knows how to play a frontman. He keeps that suaveness from his Bond films but leaves out the intensity, creating a more flawed and vulnerable character that's easy to like. 

Props have to be given to the killer opening credits not only for including that great song that was in the kick-ass trailer, but for being an awesome 3D sequence. It makes a nice little graphic music video to introduce the movie. 
I'm not in love with the story, but it's a nice little mystery that's made better with Fincher's intensity and Reznor's moody tunes. I'll be looking forward to what they do with the rest of the series and wondering how much rapeier it could possibly get. 

THE GOOD: Intense crime thriller, great acting, great mood, Fincher and Reznor are a good fit for the series. 

THE BAD: Long, has 20 endings, can get very graphic, and, oh yeah, EVERYONE GETS RAPED. 

OVERALL: If you can get over the graphic nature of it, it's an enjoyable and well made film. 

MOVIES LIKE IT: Se7en, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish version), The DaVinci Code 

ONE SCENE METAPHOR: The scene with the rape in it. OH WAIT.

No comments:

Post a Comment