I went and saw this film yesterday with some friends on a whim and nostalgia for the local culture of Cambridge. The film selected was the buzz-worthy “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”.
The film opens with a complete Bond opening rip-off gone gothic (ironic with who the star is). It is a very odd opening storyline of a slander suit against a journalist (Daniel Craig) and it takes almost an hour for it to weave into another storyline taking place. I’ve seen some grand exposition in my day, however this was unprecedentedly long.
The separate storyline involving the “girl with the dragon tattoo” could not be more explicit. It lacks nuance in introducing the character. While she goes through hell and back, exhibiting her internal torment and then showing that she can dish it like she takes it, her character does not warrant title-worthy intrigue. It seems that her voice pattern in concert with her mannerisms seem to shift radically in order just to not allow her to be pegged as predictable. This comes across as a superficial solution to a way to reconcile the complexities of a character in a book translated on screen.
The way the film was superficially described to me, to lure me, was it is a detective drama where the girl is a ‘super detective’ of some kind. While her photographic memory, disguises and ingenuity exhibited this to a degree – her social awkwardness, sociopathy and penchant for vengeance overtake this as it drifts into a cult romance film between Bond & bondage girl.
The European setting is highly believable and immerses you seamlessly. This is one of the redeeming features of the things depicted.
The story-arc of the escape for this journalist with legal troubles, away from his family, seems almost unduly ignored and lacks much consequence.
There is some violence and some graphic sexual assault that was for pure shock value purely to push it to an 18A rating. The whole film seemed to bask in moral ambiguity. While I appreciated some of the respect to modernity in regards to sexual orientation and gender roles that it was paid – I still imagine that the older generation seeing this film for curiosity’s sake will purge it out of their memories.
With graphic rape, household pet carcass and a generally un-relatable protagonist… It certainly could make for a favourite for the proud fringe society. Personally, I walk the line of groups where I feel welcome anywhere and with whoever, thus find myself strangely comfortable seeing this movie whilst a deep sense of pity or concern for those who live in a mentally restricted life where they are shocked and appalled by a sense of dignified duty to a dead sense of decency in the world.
This film is not for the weak of stomach, innocent of mind or for those seeking comfort viewing. This film is thought-provoking, but not for the mystery being depicted or the characters themselves, but rather for the context and connections made. This whole thing stems from a very widely available book and, apparently, shallowly discussed in a preparatory way by the media for the viewing audience soon to see it in theatres.
With two books left in this series and a great deal of hype surrounding it, there is hopefully some sense of resolution to come for my reservations about this potential Oscar-worthy film….
For my personal taste, it did some justice to burying history’s superficial pleasantness and giving a naked, raw and open viewing of several storylines with interesting connections – it receives a 7.
I wonder how many Oscar nods it will get and what sort of buzz or discussion it will provoke. If you feel like walking on the wild side this holiday break or early in the New Year…