The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:18 am

Uri wrote:While we're at this, one of the (many, o so many) problems I had with Hugo was the fact that this (very) American film which is set in Paris and populated exclusively with French characters features a cast of British actors. Because, you know, admittedly there is a world beyond the boundaries of the US (a ridiculous notion, but unfortunately true) and it is a common knowledge that all the people who doesn't speak proper English – sporting a Texas accent, that is – are bound to speak that Limey tongue.

And by the way, there is a recent, rather acclaimed, non porn French version of Chatterley.




Oh ok, I didn't know about it. But for example I remember a dreadful French movie about the Bronte sisters, set, of course, in England but played by famous French actresses (including Adjani and Huppert) speaking French, and it felt completely wrong, for this (and other) reasons.

As for Hugo, you are right, but at least it's not meant as a totally realistic movie, so I'm less tough on it.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Uri » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:53 am

While we're at this, one of the (many, o so many) problems I had with Hugo was the fact that this (very) American film which is set in Paris and populated exclusively with French characters features a cast of British actors. Because, you know, admittedly there is a world beyond the boundaries of the US (a ridiculous notion, but unfortunately true) and it is a common knowledge that all the people who doesn't speak proper English – sporting a Texas accent, that is – are bound to speak that Limey tongue.

And by the way, there is a recent, rather acclaimed, non porn French version of Chatterley.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:26 am

Okri wrote:What about something like Lady Chatterly? A French film, based on an English novel, set in England, starring French actors/actresses speaking French?



Well, if you mean the porn version... I mean, we can't deny that you watch ALL movies - but in porn, let's face it, everything is allowed. If you refer to the Marc Allegret version, though, that's a special case: in the 50s nobody in the British film industry would have dared to touch this "forbidden" book, so the more open minded French were free to be the first to adapt it to the screen. The movie isn't good and you are right, it's set in England with French-speaking actors, but the cast is very interesting and it says alot about European sexual cliches of the time: lady Chatterley is played by a French actress, her husband is played by an English actor, and the lover is played by an Italian - Sicilian even! - actor. (By the way Erno Crisa, who was then a big star in Italy but is almost forgotten today even here, was one of the most handsome faces of Italian cinema).

There may be other cases like this, but believe me, it's rare, very rare. And don't forget that France is closer to England than US is to Sweden - but really, this happens very rarely even between two European countries. We just couldn't do that.

But I think the real problem is ignorance - as it often is. Another example. Through Imdb and other sites I've checked the American reviews of A Separation, and by the way I must admit that some of them are very perceptive, and most - almost all actually - praise the movie. But that's not the point here. The point is: is it so difficult for Americans - and film reviewers are well-educated Americans, or should be - to realize that Iran ISN'T an Arab country? I mean - this isn't a small, unknown nation like Andorra - we are talking about a place that's often discussed in the news, especially in the US. It's ignorance, I repeat - and ignorance leads to even worse mistakes than considering the Iranians as Arab.

I'm sure that in the book all those subplots are better explored than in the movie.

Big Magilla, Rosanna actually is an Italian name. But Roseanna? Never.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby ksrymy » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:36 am

My only gripe with the Swedish version was that everyone cast seemed a decade older than they should have been.
"Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:51 am

Still haven;' seen this version, but the seemingly minor characters in part I become more involved in teh story as it moves through parts two and three.

As for Roesanna's Grave, I have no idea where the inspiration for that odd duck of a comedy about a dying woman comes from but I thought Rosanna (different spelling) was an Italian name. I don't know where that title comes from either as I thought the film was released in the U.S. as For Roseanna, which is the title on the DVD as well as the cable TV versions. Maybe it was the working title.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Okri » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:57 pm

Heh.

What about something like Lady Chatterly? A French film, based on an English novel, set in England, starring French actors/actresses speaking French?

As for this film, I will say that the book had more intriguing notes about Swedish law (which they changed here). I have to admit I love the book but what makes it really entertaining is it's sprawling, twisty-turny nature. This is a pretty straighfoward adaptation (Italiano, I think the subplots worked well in the book merely because there's more to them). I suspect it's similar to LA Confidenial in that regard.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:52 am

Uri wrote:While I totally agree with your take on it, a little question – did you see it dubbed? Because if you did, you missed a great deal of the fun, which is the grotesque mix of Swedish accents - real, fake, light, heavy, none at all – sported here. My favorite – Geraldine James (an actress I like a lot usually) doing her hilarious version of the Muppets' Swedish chef.



I saw it dubbed, so I can't comment on the accents. But it's still absurd, and so American (can you imagine an Italian movie set in America with Italians playing Americans?). They used to do it with Italy, too - the last time with a terrible film called Roseanna's Grave (needless to say, the name Roseanna doesn't even exist in Italy), with Mercedes Ruehl as your typical, arm-waving Italian housewife. These things shouldn't happen, really. And while Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a more intelligent movie than Roseanna's Grave, it's not just about accents - each country has its roots, its soul, and Americans, especially Americans, can't understand that. They may shoot the movie in Sweden, but they can't "get" Sweden.

This reminds me of that perfectly nice, young American couple that I met in Damascus. By American standards, I guess, they were even courageous - travelling all the way to this "dangerous", "enemy" country. I was polite, I listened to them - not easy, believe me. But when they asked me where they could find a McDonald's, I just silently stood up and left.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Uri » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:40 am

While I totally agree with your take on it, a little question – did you see it dubbed? Because if you did, you missed a great deal of the fun, which is the grotesque mix of Swedish accents - real, fake, light, heavy, none at all – sported here. My favorite – Geraldine James (an actress I like a lot usually) doing her hilarious version of the Muppets' Swedish chef.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:06 pm

I'm one of the very few - at least in Europe - who didn't see the Swedish original, or read the book both movies are based on. I didn't know anything about the story or the characters - I actually didn't even know that it was a thriller. I just knew that it was set in Sweden. This, I guess, made me enjoy David Fincher's version more - but it also prevents me from comparing the two movies, which seems to be Italy's favorite sport right now.

This American remake is, needless to say, very well directed. Technically almost flawless, I'd say. My main problem is with the narrative itself - which, I guess, follows the novel closely and, as often in these cases, is full of characters and subplots, some of which could have easily been cut. I was admittedly never bored, but at the end felt that such a complicated investigation could have led to a more intriguing, more surprising even, solution. And the movie doesn't even stop at the solution - it moves to Switzerland for an unnecessary coda which I honestly didn't even understand, because by then I didn't care anymore.

The movie follows the novel closely even by setting it in Sweden - though its actors are of many different nationalities and the newspapers are in English. This is at times ridiculous - and while Sweden definitely is a country with its own peculiar atmosphere, so are parts of the US, and - except maybe for a Nazi aspect - the story could have been easily moved to America. I certainly didn't "feel" Sweden, which is only used as a convenient background.

But as I said I was never bored, and especially for the first hour or so I was always interested. There are many nice turns, and while I'll never even dream to read the novel, I wondered how such a visual story - which by the way depends so much on details in several photos taken from various points of view at a street parade - was dealt with in the original source.

Lisbeth is a character which young actresses today would kill for. With reason - it's a unique, unusual and even too intentionally "contemporary" character. Still, it's also the kind of role that doesn't make it easy to understand if the actress who plays it is very good or not. I'd like to see Rooney Mara in other parts (even in this movie when she starts wearing a blond wig and a dress she suddenly becomes less interesting) - but I'd definitely vote for her over Saint Viola.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:34 pm

David Fincher did what I expected with this material -- he made an infinitely more fluid, graceful film than the Scandinavian version, even while being more faithful to the book (allowing for one end plot tweak). The first hour, in particular, is a pleasure, as the many elements of the plot are set in motion with economy and style (the editing nomination is well deserved for this section alone). I think this film also does a far better job with the Blomkvist/Salander relationship than the earlier film did...making the final non-moment between them heartbreaking.

Unhappily, Fincher didn't do what I'd hoped, which was to find a way to make this material transcendent (the way, say, The Godfather did from its trash roots). I don't think the novel is a bad mystery per se. I love the set-up -- the mysterious flower photos; the locked-room aspect (no one could get on or off the island); even many of the detection elements -- especially the photos/cross-photos of the parade scene. (SPOILERS AHEAD) But for the end of all that to be child abuse/serial killer in the family is a huge letdown...not least because dozens of lesser mysteries have used the same solution. To waste that set-up -- and such a unique character as Lisbeth -- on this lame outcome seems criminal. I'd hoped Fincher and his team would find a way to tweak the narrative that maybe honored the original work but found a more interesting end-point. (The one plot element that was changed was one that didn't need to be)

I also wished the Fincher/Zaillian team might have come up with something to thematically tie everything together. I think there's something lurking there that might have done the trick: that there are men who truly victimize women (Skarsgaard and his father, Advocate Bjurman), but just as many who fail to come through for women in their moment of greatest need (Plummer on that long-ago day, Lisbeth's first guardian, and Blomkvist in the final shot). But this isn't emphasized enough to real make the idea cohere.

Overall, I think it's a solid but uninspired piece of work. The great Guild love seems possibly part-hangover from Fincher's last effort; I can't say the film was cruelly denied any Oscar bids it deserved. But, of course, it's hugely superior to Extremely Loud and Incredible Close.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Dien » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:47 am

Sabin wrote:(Also, what’s up with the title sequence? That is not the movie.)


One of my favorite parts of the film.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:15 pm

I agree.

There is not enough interesting stuff to make the movie fascinating, as in the book. In order to make the adaptation manageable, Fincher and Zaillian distilled it mainly to basic action and exposition. The characterizations, the fresh action and the luridness drove the book. There is little of that here. Just enough that it forms the basic structure of the film.

Fincher's focus on process benefited greatly Zodiac but is a detriment here as Girl/Dragon Tattoo is a more organic animal and less of a procedural one.


Sabin wrote:David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may be the best crafted and directed film I’ve ever seen that I didn’t give a shit about. This is a gorgeous production, beautifully shot and acted, but my God, what a miserable mystery! Who cares? To call this mystery lurid pulp is an insult to lurid pulp because more often than not lurid pulp is intermittently called upon to be entertaining. None such luck here.

I’m genuinely on the fence with this film because it is often quite suspenseful and at times for no particular reason. David Fincher’s fetishistic fascination with process is the most interesting thing here. Both his protagonist are in a state of doing. Never really starting or stopping, just doing. But at the service of what? Daniel Craig plays an audience surrogate whose investigation is awfully dull. Rooney Mara fares better in that Lisabeth Salander is a brilliant creation. I have not seen the original or Noomi Rapace’s performance, but Rooney Mara gives one of the best performances of the year. The film goes to a far more interesting place whenever she is on-screen. Unfortunately, she is being victimized for a sizable portion of this time. David Fincher shoots the most repellent rape scene I have seen in ages, and the problem is that Wayne Kramer would have likely shot it the same way. And then she can exact her vengeance accordingly and liberate herself. This is not feminist! And although there is something interesting in a woman like Lisabeth playing sexual aggressor to Craig’s Mikhail, it is scarcely believable.

How exactly does one go about recommending The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? What does one say? I would say that it worth seeing for David Fincher’s aesthetic preoccupations and Rooney Mara’s fantastic performance, but this is the lamest mystery in ages.

(Also, what’s up with the title sequence? That is not the movie.)

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:40 pm

David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may be the best crafted and directed film I’ve ever seen that I didn’t give a shit about. This is a gorgeous production, beautifully shot and acted, but my God, what a miserable mystery! Who cares? To call this mystery lurid pulp is an insult to lurid pulp because more often than not lurid pulp is intermittently called upon to be entertaining. None such luck here.

I’m genuinely on the fence with this film because it is often quite suspenseful and at times for no particular reason. David Fincher’s fetishistic fascination with process is the most interesting thing here. Both his protagonist are in a state of doing. Never really starting or stopping, just doing. But at the service of what? Daniel Craig plays an audience surrogate whose investigation is awfully dull. Rooney Mara fares better in that Lisabeth Salander is a brilliant creation. I have not seen the original or Noomi Rapace’s performance, but Rooney Mara gives one of the best performances of the year. The film goes to a far more interesting place whenever she is on-screen. Unfortunately, she is being victimized for a sizable portion of this time. David Fincher shoots the most repellent rape scene I have seen in ages, and the problem is that Wayne Kramer would have likely shot it the same way. And then she can exact her vengeance accordingly and liberate herself. This is not feminist! And although there is something interesting in a woman like Lisabeth playing sexual aggressor to Craig’s Mikhail, it is scarcely believable.

How exactly does one go about recommending The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? What does one say? I would say that it worth seeing for David Fincher’s aesthetic preoccupations and Rooney Mara’s fantastic performance, but this is the lamest mystery in ages.

(Also, what’s up with the title sequence? That is not the movie.)
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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby Dien » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:33 pm

I enjoyed the film. That being said, I have the book and have not finished it and I have the Swedish films saved on my Netflix cue and have not watched them. It had a special premiere screening on base here (a rare ocassion for those familiar with military theaters), so I took the opportunity to watch it. I love every Fincher film I've seen so far - Se7en, Fight Club, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Social Network being the films of his I've seen, but they are all in my top five for their respective years. I'm also a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, so Trent Reznor's score for this film and Social Network has kept me captivated and made them unique films in their respective genres.

This film is pre-Button Fincher here. I'd say he was the perfect director for an American adaptation of the novel (again, not having finished the novel). My only qualm with this take is bittersweet and it involves the casting of Daniel Craig. Had he not made a name for himself in action films, this would have been easier to take in. You expect him to kick ass and take names. Still, I felt Craig playing against his typical roles in favor of someone who is vulnerable and naive had worked out. Just ignore the fact he's the current James Bond and that he fought aliens in the wild west.

Also, I'm digging Rooney Mara.

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Re: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reviews

Postby nightwingnova » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:42 am

The much-awaited David Fincher version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo turns out to be a decent representation of the novel, but that’s it. Sadly, the electric, invigorating trailer does not represent the film well at all.

In the end, the novel appears to be best filmed as a TV mini-series. There is too much characterization and too much plot to be squeezed even into two and a half hours. The characters and the plot become stock and bland here.

Worse still, Fincher and Steven Zaillian, the screenwriter, doesn’t try to use the melancholic, austere environment and the themes of abuse and moral depravity to make any statement. In fact, Fincher and Zaillian actually diminish the themes so that they impact us much less than in the novel and the Swedish film version. As Fincher directed the similar procedural, Zodiac, I really had high hopes for his version of Girl/Dragon Tattoo.

If you haven’t read the book first and can mentally fill in the omissions, the film is as bare as the landscape.

Lisbeth Salander, the heroine, still stands out fully alive and magnetic. Rooney Mara does her justice, complex, expressive and deep.


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