Sunday, December 25, 2011

(:)(:)(:)(:) for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Four out of a possible five snouts up for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in theaters everywhere now.  I have to confess that I am one of the millions of people who obsessively consumed the 3 books that make up this bestselling series.  I read the first two in paperback, third on Kindle (my first ebook).  And I am not generally a consumer of such genres.  I like mysteries, but avoid gratuitous violence and get a little too wound up by thrillers, so this was a departure for me.  However, once in, I was so fascinated I couldn't get out.

It was with trepidation then, that I set forth on foot for a 7 o'clock showing at the downtown plaza.  It is one thing to read about rape and torture in print (or digital representations of print) and another to see it depicted in full color on the silver screen.  To top it off, we went with our (tiny sweet baby 6'4" almost 17 year old) son.  I have a bad track record at watching violent films with my children (see my review of of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes).  I tend to see it all from (what I imagine is) their perspective and I get rather freaked out when something intense happens (even if they're not).

As it happens, the film is marvelous and mostly just suspenseful..  Beautifully filmed, supreme acting.  I agree with my colleagues (by that I mean all the other film critics that are unaware of my existence) that Rooney Mara, who plays Lisbeth Salander, the girl with said tattoo, is a talent.  Though so much of her "appeal"--if you can call it that--comes from the way she dresses and what she's able to accomplish that it's possible that any other 95 lb. 5 foot actress could pull it off equally well.   Daniel Craig, whom I've actually never seen in a film before and was only dimly aware was a Bond, was awesome--sexy, charming, totally fulfilled my fantasy of Mikael Blomkvist.

I was captivated by the credits alone (which, are, by the way, possibly the creepiest part of the picture).  Afterwards in family review, my son raised the question of whether I had violated my own guideline by not walking out during the second anal rape (he called it "A.R." for delicacy sake).  I say no and here's why:  knowing it was coming, I took a bathroom break during the first one.  Then sat gleefully during the second one, noticing how little it bothered me since it was a revenge on the first and being a little bothered by how little I was bothered.

One final note:  the first book is like 800 pages long and complex.  This movie seems to assume that everyone watching it has read the book.  If I hadn't, I would have been completely lost for the first 20 minutes just as I was bewildered by the 100 page set up in the book.  Don't worry, it's worth it either way.  Both Bill and Nick had not read the book and understood and enjoyed the film.

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