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Latest Member: RosellaCru Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (possible spoilers) « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (possible spoilers)  (Read 1786 times)
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« on: June 05, 2012, 06:41:13 PM »

Part compelling mystery, part rape-revenge movie, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is actually pretty good.  Director David Fincher makes the movie look great, as usual, and the acting is very good from all players.

James Bond is a disgraced investigative reporter hired by The Emperor of the Cosmos to find out what happened to Harriet, his niece.  Forty years ago, Harriet disappeared without a trace, yet someone keeps sending the Emperor sketches of flowers for his birthday, just like Harriet herself always did.  The Emperor has investigated her disappearance himself for forty years to no avail.  The Emperor is now a sick old man, and hopes that James Bond can solve the mystery before he dies.

Meanwhile, in another movie, Lisbeth -- the girl with the dragon tattoo -- is a ward of the state.  She finds herself assigned to a social worker who likes to trade blowjobs for advances on her monthly welfare check.  Lisbeth is damned techno-savvy and a good con artist to boot, so she goes to the sleazebag's home with the intent of recording him extorting sexual favors from her.  Unfortunately, the guy doesn't just want a blowjob this time.  He chains her to his bed and ass-rapes her.  Lisbeth does get her blackmail video, at least, which she uses to terrify the rapist into doing whatever she says.

I didn't like this part of the movie, because it stacks the deck a little too much.  Apparently, the screenwriter was afraid the audience might possibly feel a little bit sorry for the guy if "all" he did was ask for blowjobs in exchange for welfare checks.  Even making him a full-fledged rapist wasn't enough.  No, he had to be an anal rapist!  (And fat.  He's the only person in the movie who carries even one extra ounce of flab, so make of that what you will.)  It's a bit over the top.  I suppose the screenwriter was also afraid the audience might not like Lisbeth if she completely ruined a guy's life    "just" because he wanted a blowjob in exchange for a welfare check.  Incidentally, I've grown weary of the trope where a rape victim gets back at her rapist by shoving something up his ass.

The two movies finally intersect when James Bond decides he needs some help.  Turns out Lisbeth is occasionally employed as an investigator and is known to the Emperor and his associates.  In fact, she is the one who did the extremely thorough background check on James Bond before the Emperor hired him.  They bring her up to help James Bond.  Working together, Bond and Lisbeth make shockingly quick progress toward solving the mystery  ... except that the mystery they're solving might not strictly be the one they intend to.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is very good.  Its two main problems are the blatant deck-stacking of the rape-revenge segment and the fact that James Bond and Lisbeth really are in two completely separate movies for about an hour before the characters meet.  Then, after the mystery is solved, Lisbeth goes off on her own for yet a third plot barely connected to anything else.  Each story -- the rape revenge, the mystery, and Lisbeth's side quest -- is well done and entertaining in its own right but the three are not intertwined as well as they could have been.  This is a fairly minor complaint, since the movie overall is so good.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 08:05:11 PM by akiratubo » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 08:04:48 PM »

The book intertwines the themes better, AND carries the story forward for two more excellent installments.  I read the books after watching the American version (the one you saw) of the first film.  Want to see the original Swedish version next.

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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 12:09:19 AM »

I thought the movie was really good. I'm reading the book right now and its pretty good. The Swedish film in on Netflix Instant so I'll likely watch it soon too.

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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 03:47:49 AM »

I can't remember the specifics of the Swedish version, nor have I read the book, but I seem to remember her having a history of sexual abuse by her 'minders' except for the one who dies at the start, and is generally an unwilling participant but is so disenfranchised that she is forced into it by circumstance, and its certainly implied in the Swedish one that she's been raped on more than one occasion by people who have authority over her. 

I imagine a few people have a problem with this part of the story and understandably so, but I found that it was well executed in the Fincher movie, albeit less subtly than the Swedish version.  It kind of sets up the later parts of the series where Salander is more of a foucus, as is her 'deviant' tendencies.

The making of part of the dvd/blu-ray is excellent and has a bit to talk about on the topic of the intertwining stories and the balance they were trying to strike.  I think considering everything they struck the balance pretty well as I was never lost, nor did I feel that they were too separated; it all flowed pretty well and as you say they are minor quibbles anyways.

I really need to watch the Swedish one again, because it is excellent, especially for what is essentially a made-for-tv mini series. Highly recommended viewing!

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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2012, 05:20:30 AM »

The original Swedish title for the book and movie is translated as "Men Who Hate Women."

The first book and movie is really prologue for what happens next. The story of the Vanger family does not really figure into the next two books, except in tangential ways. Keep in mind that the author did have something like ten books planned for the entire story, but he died very suddenly right as his books became the international publishing sensations they became.

Lisbeth Salander's story is really focus of the next two installments, and the "stacked deck" of female abuse really does pay off in surprisingly potent ways. Stieg Larsson, the author, is an ex-journalist, and the whole set-up works to set up the topics he really wants to talk about. A man with an agenda, but pretty gifted at writing pot-boilers.

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is pretty good, but the next two book are where the story really kicks into high gear. Sure it's a revenge fantasy, but it's a great revenge fantasy.

Not that the books are perfect, there are some moments where the wish-fulfillment is a little too blatant. (The character of Mikael Blomkvist, a stand-in for the author, seems to get laid constantly.)

So, I read all of the books first in about two weeks. I read books slowly, so for me to read all three in such a short time speaks to their compulsive readability. I then watched all three Swedish movies. I liked them, but they pale compared to the original, mostly because they had to cut out or simplify much of the story. There are now some extended editions available to watch which feature more of the story (have not seen those).

I may be in the minority here, but I do prefer the Fincher version to the original. Not by much, mind you, I just liked it slightly more. Both the Swedish and American versions cut-out and simplify the books, neither are as good. But, if I had to pick a favorite, I would probably go with the Fincher version. Maybe it's just because the American version has a dynamite cover of "Immigrant Song."

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I think both versions fail a little bit in capturing just what a fantastically asocial creature Lisbeth Salander is. Not to slight either actresses, because they both do very good jobs, but they aren't quite Lisbeth Salander as created in the books. Maybe more so the American version, but only because part of the Lisbeth character is her physical "unattractiveness." Neither Noomi Rapace or Rooney Mara fit that bill.

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