Thursday 29 December 2011

277: Review - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) poster

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) (2011)
29th December 2011. Location: Cinema

Hard work in places, but worth it.

There are parts in David Fincher's remake of tGWtDT that are supposed to be difficult to watch, I know. Keeping that in mind, I didn't have that hard a time with those scenes. They're there to give gravity to the characters and they do the job rather well. What I did have a problem with was the first twenty minutes of the film. After a slick opening sequence, the audience is bombarded with fast-cut shots and constant dialogue from characters who aren't all introduced properly. From this, it's difficult to know what's important, what's background information and what's just filler. The best thing to do is just ride it out until Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) sits down for some semi-mumbled exposition courtesy of Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). It's not really until this point that the whole show slows the hell down and you can start following at a reasonable pace.

After this, it's excellent. Dark, violent and moody with very little in the way of down-time, it's an intense murder thriller full of misanthropic characters. It's a good rule of thumb here that if you think a character deserves a good kicking, they're probably going to get it. Unless you're opposed to all vigilante justice, at least one moment will have you inwardly cheering.

As the story moves on, the rabbit-hole goes deeper into murder, abuse, conspiracy and family secrets without becoming heavily bogged down by the details. It's a long film (2h30m+), and it feels long, but there's little-to-nothing that could be trimmed to remedy that. As long as you know you're going to be there for a while, maybe don't drink too much coffee beforehand, and you won't miss any of it.

I say all this, of course, without having read the book or seen the previous versions of the films. As a blank slate, I found it very well made, but demanding. If you're not in the mood for actually paying attention for the whole film*, maybe come back to it later. Is the reward worth the demand? I'm not sure at this point. A slightly downbeat ending robs you of any feeling of accomplishment, but feels entirely in-keeping for the film.

Recommended with caution.


Oh, and the paperboy from that episode from Spaced where they have the party is in this. Bizarre.

* I don't mean that in a film-snob way, but seriously; if your mind wanders at all, you stand a chance of losing the thread, and David Fincher won't hand it back to you again.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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