So here's my second movie review of the year. Something a little bit more up to date with a film I saw in the cinema recently.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - US Version (2012)
First of all, I'll start by saying I haven't read the book. Having seen the film, I probably never will.
I'm not saying the book's no good – I'm sure it is. Personally, I'd only read the book if the film totally blew me away, and unfortunately it failed to do that.
So let's start with the good points. Rooney Mara is stunning as the mysterious, tortured emo heroine Lisbeth. Her character is a force to be reckoned with and her anti-authoritarian streak is demonstrated numerous times during the film. It's not hard to empathise with this computer-hacking, messed up 20-something and you can't help cheering her on as she inflicts revenge upon her abusive social worker.
David Fincher does a good job of telling a story that is quite complex at times and successfully builds the tension as the lead characters delve deeper into the history of a hugely dysfunctional business family. The backdrop of Sweden is as you'd expect: cold and clinical yet stylish, demonstrated wonderfully when we see one character's uber-Ikea-esque hilltop lair.
It has all the ingredients of a tense, edgy whodunnit. Being set in a European country (where very few Hollywood blockbusters are ever located) adds a renewed freshness to a well-worn genre.
This film, however, just doesn't quite live up to the hype for me.
I've not seen Daniel Craig in a huge amount of films, but whenever I do he seems to be playing the same person – a bit of a George Clooney. His portrayal of Blomkvist was adequate, nothing more, and I just know that he could have given it that little bit extra (like he did in Layer Cake).
And then there's the rape sequence.
Why are producers and directors intent on pushing the boundaries like this? In my opinion, this scene was totally unnecessary and highly exploitative. It is possible to convey events without actually portraying them onscreen, and that can sometimes be more powerful. Sadly, it seems that some viewers revel in the fact that such scenes make it into the final cut. Describing the film as 'gritty' or 'visceral' simply doesn't excuse or justify the filming of such scenes (but then maybe I'm just getting old). Saying all this, I shouldn't have been surprised by the content – it is an '18' after all.
So, in conclusion, I was disappointed with what could have been a far more interesting and challenging film. Fincher delivers something far too mainstream – which is odd given his history – and seemingly fails to play to his strengths.
I give this movie 5 out of 10.