Sunday, July 11, 2010

Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - A

Who's In It: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace amd a bunch of other Swedish actors you've never heard of. No, Max von Sydow isn't in it.

What It's About: A journalist investigates a 40 year old murder of a girl in Sweden unfolding a labyrinth of secrets among this weird family. Hilarity ensues.

What I Was Expecting: Never read the books. Hadn't heard much about the movie except that Lisbeth Salander is one of the best female roles ever written.

What I Got: The kind of movie I've been waiting a LONG time to see. I'd been griping to friends for years about the lack of a true mystery in movies. Hollywood tends to focus on serial killers being hunted in the middle of their spree. "The Butler Did It" scenario just doesn't happen in films anymore. This is the movie I've been waiting for. And more. The two protagonists, the journalist and the title character, are so well thought out, as are the peripheral characters. The back stories, and present situations, are credible and help you understand their actions in truthful way. Not as an excuse to make up for motives that don't make much sense. There's no figuring out the mystery ahead of the characters. It unfolds for the viewer at the same time it unfolds for them. The same goes for the motivations behind them. It is a truly brilliant film. I must warn you though. It is NOT for the faint of heart.

Grade: A

Oscar Potential: It's not entirely clear if it qualifies for the Oscars this year. It had a run in L.A. in November, but wasn't released in the U.S. until March. To make things more complicated, the sequel, "The Girl Who Played with Fire", opened in limited release last Friday. And, because of the Academy's rather strange rules regarding foreign films, Sweden can only submit one of the two. That said, a nod for Foreign Language film would be a shoo-in. Acting nominations for its two leads are well-deserved. Editing, cinematography and adapted screenplay should also be considered, if not Best Picture and Director as well. It's a classic.

Five Random Thoughts:
1. NOT for the easily disturbed. This film has, not one, but, TWO anal rape scenes.
2. A bisexual, computer hacking, ass kicking, goth chick protagonist? Ain't nothin' wrong with that.
3. I would LOVE to see Michael Emerson in the lead for the U.S. remake. Daniel Craig is rumored to play the lead. I'd like to see someone a little less tough.
4. I dread the thought of the American remake. This film is brutal at times and Hollywood has a tendency to shy away from it. And the casting of a well-known actress (Carey Mulligan is rumored) could really hurt this film unless she goes all out. David Fincher is rumored to direct it. He'll have to return to full-blown "Se7en" mode to pull it off.
5. You know a movie is really good when you are able to pause the film, but STILL refuse to go to the bathroom.

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