Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Saw Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tonight. A dark, brutal adaptation of a dark, brutal book. Absolutely do not see this movie if you’re squeamish about rape. The original title of the book actually translates as Men Who Hate Women.
With that out of the way, this was an excellent movie. I’ve read the book and seen the Swedish film version, so it’s hard to be objective about how well the central murder-mystery plot is carried off, but I think it was excellently done. It’s a complicated story, with a lot of characters, both present and referenced, but the film flowed very well and should, I think, be intelligible to newcomers. Some of the dialogue was difficult to make out, but nothing terribly vital.
The movie’s flaws are the same as the book’s flaws. There are three main plots: the murder mystery, and the lives of the two protagonists. While everything does interweave, it doesn’t always do it gracefully, and the motivations for a couple of the characters are obscure at best.
I do hope that the filmmakers continue with the trilogy. Adapting this book for an American audience is much more straightforward than the next two, which are much more about the political and social past and present of Sweden, and lack the easy hook of the murder mystery.
Since I have seen them both, I am obliged to compare this version to the Swedish. They’re both good movies, but I give the edge to this one. It seemed a little tighter, a little snappier, but mainly it had better music. I don’t know who had the idea to score this movie with Trent Reznor, but it was genius. Oddly, I was just having a conversation at work today about the importance of the score to a movie, and this is an excellent example of how a good score can improve a movie which risks dullness in the long winter of Sweden.
To recap: good film as long as you’re prepared for brutal violence, rape, murder, and misogyny. I went alone because I knew that watching it with anyone else would make me uncomfortable.
I forgot something in my review: the title sequence for Dragon Tattoo was amazing and weird and disturbing, slightly reminiscent of a Bond opening, and the most unique title sequence I’ve seen in years.
1. Hugo
2. The Help
3. Captain America
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
5. Source Code
6. Hanna
7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
8. Thor
9. Rango
10. Paul
11. The Adjustment Bureau
12. X-Men: First Class
13. Pirates: On Stranger Tides
14. Sucker Punch
15. Green Hornet
16. Three Musketeers
17. Your Highness
18. Cowboys & Aliens
19. I Am Number Four

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