Monday, January 23, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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I meant to read the book and watch the original movie before I saw the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but neither of those things have happened yet and I really wanted to see this on the big screen. So I did. And I liked it. Most of it. I see now why this is such a popular book/film.

The movie opens to Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song”. Don’t be too impressed that I knew the name of the song. I had to ask Spike. I tried asking him what the name of the song is that contains the line “Valhalla, I am coming!” Didn’t ring any bells. Then I sang the battle cry. He knew exactly what I meant. Fortunately he’s used to me bursting in to song so this didn’t phase him at all. But, I digress. This music is played over what I thought were some really cool computer generated scenes but they became more and more disturbing as the song progressed. Still, considering the movie, it totally fit.

This is the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who has just been found guilty of libel and ordered to pay a hefty sum which diminishes his life savings to almost nothing. Soon after, he is officially hired by Henrick Vanger, the patriarch of a well-to-do family, to write his (Henrick’s) memoirs. He is unofficially hired by Henrick to investigate the 40-year-old murder of his niece, Harriet.

This is also the story of Lisbeth Salander, ruled legally incompetent as a child, who is now a ward of the state (due to circumstances we discover during the film) and whose guardian has just had a stroke, forcing him to give up his guardianship. Lisbeth is now at the mercy of the state and the man who takes over as her guardian. Despite her upbringing, and possibly because of it, she is a talented investigator and is able to stomach evidence that many people couldn’t. Mikael needs an assistant so he hires the person who dug up all the information on him for Henrick. Lisbeth.

From the descriptions above it doesn’t sound too terribly exciting and certainly not close to 3 hours of exciting but it held my attention from the very beginning. There are some twists and turns and, though I hate to admit it, I did not figure out who killed Harriet before they were revealed.

The two things I absolutely did NOT like about this film were the three, yes three, rape scenes and what happened to Katt. Had those been left out I would recommend this to more people.

Once again, I liked pretty much all the actors. Daniel Craig (Mikael) stayed true to his contract (I made this up in a previous blog). We get to see him in only his unders. Come to think of it, we may have gotten to see him in his altogether from the back side. How on earth could I have forgotten that? Anyway… I don’t think I’ve seen Rooney Mara (Lisbeth) in anything else. I take that back. I looked her up on IMDB. I just saw The Social Network the other day and she plays the part of Erica Albright, the girl who dumps the main character at the beginning of the movie prompting the tirade on his blog about what a not very nice person she is. So there. In Dragon Tattoo she was completely convincing as the misunderstood private investigator with a horrible past. You get to see all of her in this film. I think the rating needs to be bumped up a bit. Christopher Plummer plays the part of Henrick Vanger. Is he becoming popular again? I think he’s been in several recent movies. Thank goodness the movie Priest didn’t ruin things for him.

I hated/loathed/despised Nils Bjurman, played by Yorick van Wageningen. I feel about him the way my dad feels about Nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher, in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He mentioned one time that he can’t watch anything with Louise in it without thinking about her character in Cuckoo. I saw it. I completely understand. I will, more than likely, never be able to see Yorick in anything else without thinking about Nils. There is a special place in the underworld (no, not Kate Beckinsale’s) for people like him. Was I pleased with what happened to him? Oh yeah. And then some. Did I want to see it? Not especially.

Children should absolutely NOT watch this movie but I’ll go ahead with the breakdown anyway.

Sex/Nudity – A resounding YES to both. And adultery seems to be okay with everyone. I found it very odd how this was portrayed.

Cussing – Oh yeah.

Drugs/Drinking/Smoking – Yes. Yes. And…Yes.

Violence – Definitely. The rape scenes and a couple other scenes including violently (I probably didn’t need that adjective but you get the point) graphic crime scene photos. What Lisbeth does to the murderer is kinda gross too. Okay, no kinda about it. It was gross. All of these scenes were hard to take but the one that made me lose it in the theater happened to an animal. No, I didn’t hurl but I was so glad the closest people around were about 10 rows in front of me.

If you can overlook the rape scenes (I really don’t feel right even typing that) and you like a good thriller then this is the movie for you. If you are 17 or younger (I’d actually say under 21 at least but I don’t get to make the rules regarding ratings) or you’re one of my relatives (or most of them anyway), I wouldn’t recommend this. Despite what I said in the first sentence of this paragraph you might want to consider reading the book first; although my imagination does tend to be a bit more inventive than what I see in most movies. If you do decide to brave it and would like a heads up regarding the rape scenes so that you can either excuse yourself or hide your eyes and plug your ears for a minute or two send me an e-mail and I’ll let you know when to run for cover. I wish I’d had a warning.

I have no idea if anything happened during/after the credits. I had to hustle my tuckus to the next movie.

P.S. I did a little extra research on the author of the trilogy, Stieg Larsson, and found that the books were published posthumously. The reason for the graphic descriptions of violence against women in the tomes was due to guilt over Stieg witnessing a gang rape when he was 15 but doing nothing to stop it. The girl’s name was Lisbeth and when he tried to apologize for not coming to her aid she refused it. It has been said that these books are his way of apologizing.

P.P.S. And on a lighter note, this movie was brought to you by Coca-Cola, Marlboro cigarettes, Wikipedia, Google, Purell and, most especially, McDonald’s. I like trying to catch brand placement in movies. Ramen may be in there too but I don’t remember actually seeing the bag.

1 comment:

Suzanne Moore said...

Hi Tarisa! This is the first one of your reviews I have read. I really love the way you write!!! I will be back soon to read some more...gotta get kids to bed :)