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Dragon Tattoo Review from Confessions of a Female Filmmaker


Here is something you don’t come across every day.  As we head into an Oscar season that is mostly going to be, once again, about white male protagonists it was refreshing to come across this site, Confessions of a Female Filmmaker and her review of The Dragon Tattoo.  Nicole Davis is a 23 year old filmmaker who has wanted to be a director since she was 13.  Here’s to hoping when the time comes the industry will be open and available for her.  So much of success now is built on instant celebrity but here is a smart up and comer — we wish her the best.  She writes about Dragon Tattoo:

Despite the big names involved in this film,  don’t expect that traditional Hollywood gloss. This film is raw and some people might be a bit disturbed by a few scenes. As an adaptation, the film is great because it stands on its own as a great piece of art. Fincher is a master of capturing the under belly of modern culture, he does it so well in fact, that you wish you could live in the dark worlds he creates.

And about Rooney Mara:

Mara is completely unrecognizable in the role and has gone from unknown to super star literally over night. Salander is a complex character with a murky past. The book takes great time to explain her history and her quirks in excruciating detail to the point that she becomes larger than life. The film is the same, but unlike the book Fincher rooted Lisbeth in the real world which made her more relatable.

This film is anything but subtle and I do not think any actress could have captured this character the way Mara did. She has multiple nude scenes and many of them involve sexual violence that will make your skin crawl. Mara’s performance is cutting and impassioned, she has really raised the bar for actors across the board.

I have found the reviews about this film to be mostly annoying and off point, written by men, too many men.  The Dragon Tattoo is a film that is drawing the attention of 20-something girls. And if there ever was an underserved demographic, there it is.  It’s mostly written off as the “Twilight set” but for those who are looking for something beyond the usual crap in service of the fanboy demographic, we’re seeing something new with this film and how it’s sparking the interest of young women.  Nicole Davis is one of those, and a refreshing voice amid the male-dominated

  1. Sasha Stone says

    Comments closed on this thread.

  2. Cinesnatch says

    Unlikelyhood, I tend to interchange those words without realizing it and didn’t mean to offend you or try to minimize the quality of this site.

  3. Cinesnatch says

    I’m glad DukeD1989 brought Hanna up. I enjoyed Hanna and Dragon Tattoo equally. I thought they were both entertaining, slickly produced and offered a refreshing take on a female hero (how I long for the days when we won’t have to make gender distinctions on such things). Both Hanna and Lisbeth offer females (and males) a hero that they can root for that the cinema has never seen. What’s so exciting about cinema right now (probably the only thing I’d argue) is the different perspective we are getting on the female characters in lead capacities in varying genres. What makes this even more shocking is that this is happening during a consolidation of Hollywood output and the emphasis on video game and comic book franchises.

    Either or both films could easily make my ten favorite films of the year. However, I will just as easily admit that as much as I loved and enjoyed both films, I can’t pretend that there’s a depth to them that may not be there. While the Lisbeth character represents someone from the wrong side of the tracks who gets by on her own talents, I didn’t necessarily find that Fincher tapped as closely to a genuine rawness that the Scandinavian telefilm did. But, I enjoyed Fincher’s version much more. He always produces a nice looking product, but when I look underneath and I never find much there. But he has never specialized in realism. Lisbeth’s rape is very real, but her revenge is all fantasy. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I enjoyed her second “guardian’s” comeuppance as much as the next person. And I appreciated the film’s sexual frankness. The Lisbeth character is a true feminist icon, because she embraces her sexuality, rather than fears it and/or uses it to manipulate, while using her own resources to get by in life. As well, she kicks serious ass.

    But, I can’t pretend the film and character was something that it wasn’t. It offers something more than what we get out of an Angelina Jolie action film, but isn’t quite at the level of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. Perhaps I will change my mind in the future.

  4. Goodness Gracious says

    As another young, female aspiring filmmaker who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- I’m rather pleased to see this here. I’ve been irritated by the criticism of the film from overtly biased male writers, as well as from overtly biased feminist writers. Actually, it’s the feminist commentary that’s been more problematic for me. Descriptions of the sexuality in TGWTDT on several feminist film blogs have been dismissive of Fincher’s Salander, as if any depiction of sexuality and female nudity is objectification. From my point of view, the Salander that Fincher and Mara created is a fully breathing person. I didn’t care for Salander in the Swedish film- she felt like a shallow, forced “badass” without depth or vulnerability. One review I read characterized Fincher’s Salander as “soft,” “americanized,” and “sexualized,” where in the same moments they cited I saw her as subtle, nuanced, and fully realized.

    I think you’re right to say that Salander is a fascination for young women today. How women are perceived is a revolving door of objectification and accusation of objectification. Even our strong leading females are made up, manicured, polished and dressed up. And the feminist community seems to rabidly denounce any female character that is depicted sexually.

    It reminds me of what Steve McQueen talked about in that director’s roundtable: sex/nudity/sexuality is simultaneously one of the most familiar aspects of our adult lives, and yet the image of a cock puts you on the fast track to obscenity.

    I think this is part of what fascinates me about the new Salander- that she exists in this ecosystem but doesn’t seem to breathe the same air everyone else is breathing– she is neither conventional nor is she conventionally unconventional– and that’s the distinction between the two film Salanders for me. In the swedish film Salander fit too easily into that place of the ‘badass chick who doesn’t give a fuck.” So while this new Salander might be “softer,” I think she’s also more complete.

  5. DukeD1989 says

    I still think Hanna was a much better “strong” female protagonist, but maybe that is because no one even remembers the film.

  6. Nevin says

    “As an adaptation, the film is great because it stands on its own as a great piece of art. Fincher is a master of capturing the under belly of modern culture, he does it so well in fact, that you wish you could live in the dark worlds he creates.”

    That’s exactly the way I felt watching the film. I’ve seen it twice now and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I just get sucked into the movie every time I watch it. Good review Nicole. And I don’t mine all of the Dragon Tattoo posts keep them coming. I love hearing about the film and still have hope for some oscar chances.

  7. P says

    All this fighting is killing my Christmas buzz. Enjoy the greatest Christmas scene ever:

  8. Nicole the Female Filmmaker says

    @ R, I don’t mind haters, but if ur gona hate at least hate on me in the comments section of my blog!

  9. R says

    Dont worry about the haters nicole anything u do in life u will have 100 haters who pop up for no reason.

    1. Sasha Stone says

      Dont worry about the haters nicole anything u do in life u will have 100 haters who pop up for no reason.

      Absolutely. Had I been around I would deleted many of these, which I will now do.

  10. R says

    Sasha saying only women understand the film is sexist too. I put it as my #1

  11. Nicole the Female Filmmaker says

    @ Paddy M & @ R, I write reviews as a hobby, and as a way to keep my critical eye sharp. I don’t claim to be the greatest writer on the planet, but I do know a bit about movies and I have been told by some very successful film people that I am, in fact, an excellent writer. However, if you don’t like the one about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I have lots of other reviews that you can check out on my blog, Confessions of a Female Filmmaker! Also, thank you Sasha Stone for highlighting me and my review! It certainly put a smile on my face this Christmas day!

  12. R says


  13. Michael says

    I think all Stone is trying to do is to give Mara a push at an Oscar nomination in a Best Actress race that has already been solidified. At this point, it is going to be very hard to break into a Close-Davis-Streep-Swinton-Williams race. Davis, Streep, and Williams were always in. Swinton solidified her nomination by making a good showing in the critics awards. Even with Close losing steam, her people did a great job of ensuring a nomination with the pre-release buzz for Albert Nobbs. I think the biggest problem facing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was that Columbia released the film and garnered buzz too late as categories that it could make a good showing (Actress, Director, Adapted Screenplay) started filling up with films that garnered buzz earlier.

  14. unlikelyhood says

    Sam aka Scrooge: what do YOU think bigot means? Might it have something to do with using stereotypes based on someone’s presumed status in a group, for example, “I’m not surprised, coming from a single mother and all”?

    Don’t worry Sam old man, I don’t expect a coherent answer – you’d have to have shown prior evidence of coherence.

    R – if you really “R” a different person – don’t encourage Sam.

    Not only Moneyball, but what about last year’s Social Network? I recall Sasha *defending* TSN against the many voices that found it too sexist. Wait a second – look! up on the internet! it’s a bird! it’s Sam’s arch-enemy! it’s…


    I came to the comments to speculate about why there are so few heirs to Clarice Starling. But why speculate? The evidence is here. Just when you think Stieg Larsson was using a chainsaw to weed a garden, you realize the forest is filled with knotted trees like Sam.

  15. Jesse Crall says

    Uh, Sam…

    Sasha earlier championed Moneyball repeatedly, which is pretty damn guy-centric, so any anti-male sentiment you claim to see feels kinda lost on me.

    Literally every great films list will feature, and I’m not exaggerating, a 95/5 percent male/female split in terms of direction and probably a 90/10 split for writing. Maybe it’s higher. I’m an Angry Young Man, obsessed with smart guy flicks from the 70’s and modern Tarantino. Why? Because smart chick flicks are so few and far between, as are ballsy pictures created by women. Some said last year was a banner annum for female directors. Why? Because The Kids Are Alright and Somewhere, written and directed by women, made a critical splash. But neither was a large budget flick because studios are too moronic or close-minded to take a chance on a women’s picture and girls growing up aren’t inspired by the same influences that I was.

    Maybe female film lovers are just sick and tired of every fucking Oscar-bait movie coming out with a male perspective. Maybe they’re tired of almost every female-centric Hollywood film being predominantly concerned with marriage and Mr. Right and the quirky best friend and the quirky gay friend and a lovely apartment and lovely shoes and a lovely outfit. Winter’s Bone came out and knocked people on their asses. There should be 10 Winter’s Bones every year, female-directed pictures dealing with women who have bigger concerns than whether some blandly handsome candy-ass guy with an 80 dollar haircut is gonna propose.

    Dragon Tattoo was, before anything else, a great movie, vivid and aggressive and well-acted. When the discussion turns into sexual politics, it detracts from the film and gives rise to voices too removed from the subject matter to make much of an impact. Lisbeth marks such a departure from even edgier female leads that American mens’ comments on how she comes across forces them to move into waters they don’t understand. It’s a waste of their time and their readers’ time.

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