Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Friday, May 14, 2010

Film Review:Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Full disclosure:The day I saw the movie I almost went to see The Losers.I saw this instead because the theatre showing it is literally closer to my house than the one showing the Losers.So I saw this brilliant cinematic piece of social criticism,not because of my high film standards,but in the words of Johnny Rotton, "cause I'm a lazy bastard."Anyway...

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a fine thriller directed by Niels Arden Oplev with some subtle and not so subtle observations about male and female power dynamics and continued violence against women in modern society.There's also I believe a few wry points made about class thrown in for good measure.The main protagonist is Mikael,a disgraced journalist who's hired by a wealthy old man to investigate the 40 year disappearance of his niece.Also central to the story is the journey of a troubled young hacker named Lisbeth.Eventually Mikael and Lisbeth meet face to face and agree to work together to solve the mystery and they uncover very disturbing facts about the Vanger family in the process.

I really appreciate the relatively low key and measured tone of this film.I can totally imagine how another director might have filled the movie with an overblown musical score and "exciting" editing.Oplev lets the story unfold in a fairly naturalistic manner.I also liked how Lisbeth's emotional problems are treated as truly worrisome as opposed to being merely quirky.Also,Mikael is a grown man who acts like a grown man.He's confident in the face of adversity,but he isn't constantly cracking wise like a typical movie hero.Another commendable aspect of the film is how the investigation is portrayed,as hours of reading old documents,hours of computer research and hours of interviews.There's no scene where a supposed "snitch" just spills everything there is to know about "Mr Big".

Another thing worth mentioning is the depiction of violence in this film.The movie is based on a swedish novel by Steig Larsson and the original title of both the film and the book was "Men Who Hate Women" and I think that's probably apt.There are a few scenes where females are raped or otherwise abused (particularly Lisbeth),but never do these scenes seem gratuitous or meant to titilate.The scenes are harsh without being too explicit.I believe they are there to inform the subtext which I think is that not only do evil or corrupt men abuse women but they also feel the have the RIGHT to to abuse them.On the other hand,the film does show us that women can resist such abuse.

The only quibble I have with the film comes toward the end.I won't give it away, but I feel a character behaves contradictory to the way he'd been presented up until that point.This however was not enough to put me off the film.So,The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a tight thriller with interesting things to say about patriarchy,old money,and the evolving media landscape and of course violence.The film is brutal is some spots,but I think it also provides a sense of hope.It's definitely intriguing.Catch it before the inevitable hollywood remake comes.


  1. The Hollywood remake is indeed inevitable, as I've read about the campaigns of several "name" actresses to land the role of Lisbeth Salander. I'll put off seeing this until I've finished the book, however. I've got it at the top of my stack right now. Good review, my friend.

  2. The next film, "Girl who played with Fire" is coming in a few months.Get ready!