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Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo: What it Feels Like for a Girl

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Men Who Hate Women. That’s what Stieg Larsson called his book, which then became The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. To know this story is to know Larsson. If you forget about him, the key to this story is lost. The story is about men who hate women and the women who fight back. Larsson was a bit of a hero in this and other battles he personally fought throughout his very short life. He was against the extreme right in Sweden, against racism and misogyny.  After witnessing the rape of the a 15 year old girl named Lisbeth, he never forgave himself for failing to help her.  This, it’s been said, was what motivated him to write his books.  A Swedish film did a great job of turning his book into a movie that was sold in countries all over the world. So why remake it at all?

Because a story about a female avenging those men who hate women is more relevant now that it ever has been. In fact, it’s downright revolutionary. The only kind of women we see are those who are unrealistic comic book heroes, or those who are trussed up as ultimate fantasy fodder for gamers. It’s getting worse, not better.

So, you could do as many a critic will no doubt suggest, not remake the movie. Let it just sit out there in Sweden as “their story.” Or, a popular American director like David Fincher can make Dragon Tattoo redux – he can take this well known story, render it with an obsessive’s eye, redefine its archetypical characters and most importantly, give a much wider audience the chance to experience the film’s gravitational center: Lisbeth Salander.

As realized here by Rooney Mara, Salander seems only part human. She’s done what she can with what little of her there is but she’s hardly there – a streak of black ink across the cold, geometric blondes of Sweden. Black hair reaching down in harsh shards over eyes, which beam out strangely like the lonely predatory eyes of owls, pinning what they want through the dark. Her skin has been stitched, tattooed, bruised, sucked, clawed at, beaten, punched, kissed. She wears the traces of those disassociating sensations like she wears tattoos – they can seduce or intimidate, depending on what she wants or needs. But she learned early on that need was not a useful emotion so it got buried. She trusts no one. She makes up her own rules as she goes along and can find out anything about anyone — Salander can penetrate every layer.

When Fincher announced he’d next be doing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo some grumbled that it was going to be a “paycheck movie” for “fuck you money” — a crowd-pleaser, not a “Fincher film.” Not a Fight Club. Not a Zodiac. And no, not a Social Network. It’s funny how quickly most of us are ready to classify something because it’s too weird to have it just dangling out there as an unknown, which makes it all the more strange that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the best films of 2011. From the opening credit sequence the notion of piercing through surfaces emerges. It is a strangely disturbing sequence set to a reworking of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, with Trent Reznor and Karen O. that might seem random to some but is keeping with the themes that thread loudly and silently through the film. This is a movie about protective layers, and what happens to those layers when they are tugged at, torn at, savaged and pulled apart, and also what happens when they are willingly exposed.

In remaking the Dragon Tattoo there are some things you just can’t avoid. Fincher sticks to the story mostly but he’s far more concerned with filtering it through the abstract. When the camera is on Salander you almost forget you’re watching the mystery that the film is obligated to work through. But on closer inspection, the story of “men who hate women” emerges and you start to make the connection no longer to the men in the story because they aren’t nearly as important as the women. These women fought back. Where they were victims they figured out how to protect, to kill, to escape. This is some hot shit in 2011, when the decade swings back continually to a time when women couldn’t do much more than bake a pie and give great head.

Even though we’ve long since known Lisbeth Salander in print, and she was put to screen beautifully by Noomi Rapace, there is something strangely exciting to Mara’s performance that feels brand new. To be fully capable? To be the one you want to have your back? To never really need to be saved? To not have been sculpted to suit the unending envelopment of the male gaze? It never happens anymore. Not in American film. Mara’s Salandar is almost a shapeshifter. Half the time you’re not even sure she’s there but if she is, she’s five steps ahead of you already. Her vulnerability is never completely gone and her sexuality is wholly within her control. Her own sexual pleasure is an important as his, maybe even more so.

Fincher might be more well known for his films about men. It took me a conversation with him and a look back at his work, starting with his videos with Madonna, but through Panic Room and Alien 3, okay, not the best Fincher flicks, but there is a theme throughout: he can take the heat women can throw down. And I don’t just mean leather clad, pierced and tattooed motorcycle girls, or yoga-perfect pop stars; I’m talking about a single mother stuck in a huge apartment with no weapons except a steel-doored panic room, some phone wires, gasoline and a match. I’m talking about resourcefulness that springs from vulnerability and fight or flight impulses. A few directors were masters at showing their characters struggling with the two. Maybe nobody did it better than Alfred Hitchcock, but Fincher has mastered it.

As the Dragon Tattoo project evolved, the first piece of news was that Fincher had to fight for Rooney Mara as the famous anti-heroine. The studio apparently wanted a lot of sexier actresses who could bring in the box office numbers, or sway the weather vane — that fickle boner that sometimes generates into formidable box office. But it was skinny college girl Mara, last seen verbally wiping up the floor with Mark Zuckerberg, who was the gollum-like cave-dweller Fincher envisioned. He’s stuck to it — and the end result might not be every fanboy’s cup of tea. She might not be fuckable enough for some. But he is true to the character. He gives Mara everything a director can — he gives her what Larsson would have wanted — the whole movie.

Fincher uses composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross once again to collaborate on Dragon Tattoo. What Reznor/Ross bring to the film takes film scoring to a different plane; it doesn’t enhance what isn’t on screen, nor tell your brain how to feel so much as it throbs alongside the story, pulling back the comforting layer and leaving mystery and ambiguity in its wake. Like with The Social Network, the score here is as integral a piece to the overall film as the writing (script by Steve Zallian), the acting (great cast playing a variety of twisted characters), and of course, the directing. Fincher is getting better and better as a storyteller, even if he’s stepped back from the dense vibrancy of grunge of his early career. His partnership with Reznor, in particular, is part of that storytelling – because a composer who isn’t afraid to use music to reveal context rather than fill it in works well with a director who never overlooks or brushes past a single minute of screen time. Reznor does it with sound. Fincher does it with film.

Like most great films, Dragon Tattoo gets better with the second viewing, and probably even better with the third and fourth viewings. The Stieg Larsson books are densely detailed. Once the names settle in and the plot somewhat becomes less complicated, the film breathes. Fincher is well known for his exactitude and one simply cannot get everything that’s going on the first time through – especially some of the more intricate shots, like one in particular of Rooney Mara’s thighs with her hand dangling to one side holding a gun. His are, like Hitchcock and Scorsese’s, films to be studied. He takes so much time with each shot that repeated viewings will always pay you back with one discovery after the next. Sure, but listen to critics who write it off because it’s not The Social Network.

By the end of the film, the whole point of it comes to life. This is a movie about a girl, all right. Her hard shell finally cut through, as she encounters the one man who cares enough about her to bring her a sandwich for breakfast and stand ten feet back from her, never reaching out his hand so much as to shake hers. As Blomkvist, sweetly rendered irresistible by Daniel Craig, keeps his distance from Salander, so does the girl with the dragon tattoo want to move closer to him. To fall in love is to have the most important layer pulled back, and the softest of flesh exposed. It’s a risk Salander has avoided for her own sake for most of her life. But to keep all surfaces protected means to repel everything that comes softly near. And that is an even bigger risk: to never have the sweetest thing.

I look around this year at the films that are headed for Best Picture and I’m seeing mostly movies about men. Even if Dragon Tattoo wanted to be about about a man it has been overtaken by a girl.

82 Comments on this Post

  1. Matt Neglia

    Very well written. I’m curious, if you had to rank Fincher’s films. Where do you suppose this falls?

  2. Superb read. It actually made me rather disappointed in myself because I didn’t know much about Larsson in real life until now. Glad to see the whole embargo thing didn’t turn this review into something else (Sadly I’ve already seen some critics who have almost changed their opinion or at least “words” about the movie solely because of the embargo and other things that have happened since the screening).

  3. Stunning analysis.

    I have read many of your pieces over the years. None has made me feel so alive as this one, about a movie that I’m dreading seeing because I hated the Swedish version so much. (Walked out…)

    So brutal, so agonizing.

    I may actually go sit through Fincher’s version now, because of this review.

    Thanks, to the most kickass girl in film criticism.

    –Miche

  4. Fucking yes! So glad to see people are finally free to express their opinions on the film; it feels like a great release of pressure to read your review, Sasha. And I love the review!

  5. Profile photo of Beth Stevens

    Beautiful review, Sasha. It was worth waiting for.

    This is a movie about protective layers, and what happens to those layers when they are tugged at, torn at, savaged and pulled apart, and also what happens when they are willingly exposed.

    To me, this utterly captures Lisbeth as she was written – someone in hiding, hurt and vulnerable, but slowly starting to shed the scar tissue and the protective layers. I’m getting really excited about Fincher’s and Mara’s version now.

  6. Tero Heikkinen

    One of your best reviews, Sasha. If not THE best.

  7. therealmike

    Wonderful review and the only one I will read.

    Sasha, you also made me think about the book on another level. I never understood why the english title of the book was “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. “Men who hate Women” is the only fitting title.

    Oh and doesn´t it feel like yesterday when everyone were discussing who would get the part of Lisbeth? Time flows…

  8. Just got Stieg Larsson Trilogy Extended editions (I didn’t know they were released as TV mini-series in Sweden and were much longer than than the theatrical versions) on Blu-Ray this past weekend. Will be watching them again (I love all three films but The Girl With the Dragon Trilogy is the best and fell in love with Noomi Rapace right away!) and checking out Fincher’s remake next week and see how Mara’s performance compares to Rapace’s (thankfully will also get my fix on Rapace with the release of Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows this weekend!). Still skeptic about remakes– Let the Right One In was decidedly more intense and shocking than the tamer and more commercial Let Me In– but this Fincher remake also boasts a more renowned supporting cast, so I’m looking forward to it. I just hope it will live up to all the hype and my raised expectations.

  9. Sasha, you’re writing is so powerful and beautiful. What are the chances we’ll get a book from you one of these days? Either a collection of your AD pieces or something brand new — I would welcome either. Brava to you.

  10. Oops! I meant “I love all three films but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (not Trilogy as typed above) is the best and fell in love with Noomi Rapace right away!”

  11. wisconsinkel

    Kris Tapley was one of those people who wanted so very much to dismiss it as a commercial exercise. Not an Oscar film, but a commercial exercise for Fincher. Not to say that he thought it was a bad film…that’s for him to decide…but that he wanted so bad for it not to be pretentious and aim for the Oscars

  12. julian the emperor

    Very good review, Sasha.

    Btw, how refreshingly brave would it not have been had Fincher actually renamed the film, Men Who Hate Women!? I know, that is an impossible idea in real life, but in a perfect world that kind of creative decision would be allowed for…!

  13. julian the emperor

    wisconsinkel: Tapley dislikes the film so much, that he has stated that he doesn’t even know if he is capable of writing a review. So there you go…

  14. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Kris has good taste. But I strongly disagree with him, obviously.

  15. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    You guys, thanks so much.

  16. I LOVE this review. I was so amped up, and now I am even more excited. I really like how you applauded Rapace’s creation, because I loved her performance in the original so much. It was nice how you pointed out that not everyone is going to like Mara in the role. I am more open to the idea of Mara than a lot of my friends. She looks awesome.

  17. Sasha, if I didn’t like the book at all, does the film improve upon the story? Sounds like it does from your review, but I just want to confirm it.

  18. PaulinJapan

    Hi Sasha.

    I want to know how you view Mara’s Oscar chances, which I have been high on since watching the first trailer. Jeff Well’s seems to thing the studio might drop the ball on her bid, but everything I’ve read suggests Mara is superb in the film, and would have everything in her favor in an Oscar bid, other than that she is not an ‘overdue veteran’.

    Right now she seems to be about 6th in the race for Best Actress, but I’m thinking if this movie does big numbers she’ll be propelled to the front.

    What do you think?

  19. good job sasha!!

  20. jwright40

    Alberto, sheesh, that’s pretty tacky. This is a blog which does not subscribe to NYROB’s editorial standards, nor anyone else’s, including yours. Also, what are you hoping to accomplish by appealing thus to legions of devoted fans of this very popular website? Going to change their opinions, explode the hive mind, hey? I think the standard sentiment about buggering off elsewhere if you don’t like the content applies here.

  21. Nice writeup. I must admit I was sceptical of this american film version when i first heard about it, but from the clips i’ve seen it looks like the real deal. And yes Salander truly deserves the biggest audience she can get. In my opinion she is the greatest fictional heroine of the 20th and 21st century. I’m so sad that Larsson died because I could really see this character break free on her own and become a new Miss Marple of sorts. There’s still a lot of a-holes out there, that could serve as material for a terrific Salander case.

    But can i just add, that Larsson r.i.p. was a communist with a big C. From his point of view swedish rightism in his time might have seemed extreme, but i fact conservatism in the scandinavian countries were and still is more socialist than e.g. Democratic politics in the US. Just saying.

  22. Interestingly enough, The Social Network was a paycheck movie done for fuck you money – and Fincher himself decided to label it as a “movie” rather than a highbrow “film”.

    So the question if this is a paycheck movie is actually completely irrelevant, even if I wonder where this particular project falls on his movie-film-scale. But since I fully embrace the irony of the overwhelmingly positive reception of The Social Network movie in contrast to the corny, lifeless “film” that was Benjamin Button, his opinion on the matter might be worthless anyway.

  23. Rudi Mentär

    Great Review. Interesting to read how strong this Salander-character got in book and film. I always must think about how Larsson was inspired by Astrid Lingren and that one of his intentions was to create a character which was supposed to be a grown up version or a version for grown ups of Pipi Longstocking. Perhaps you know Kalle Blomquist from Lindgren, a child who more or less accidently investigated crimes… Pipi and Kalle meet as grown ups. After I read about this I was totaly excited about it and i decided to wait for Fincher’s Version. After your reveiw I’m really hot about it. Before I knew I would like it, but now… oh man, can’t wait.

  24. what an awesome review. Ive never seen a critic put so much effort into their reviews. Most of them are blurbs with thumbs and letter grades. This is a full-on film analysis which i love

  25. Great review, Sasha.

    “She trusts no one. She makes up her own rules as she goes along and can find out anything about anyone — Salander can penetrate every layer.”

    This is what makes the character so new and interesting. Honestly, I cannot recall another female lead on film this strong, intelligent or focused without resorting to the cliched “wiles” of her sex (even when she jumps Blomkvist, it’s not quite what we’re used to). It sounds like Mara has succeeded beyond expectations and it’s about freakin’ time we had a heroine that takes it beyond the royal personage, sashaying do-gooder, short-skirted lawyer or nun.

    Glad to hear that Fincher changed some things around because the book certainly could have been tighter. And with regards to the chatter about whether or not DF did it for the paycheck, for art, as a film, as a movie, to grab an oscar or to flip AMPAS a bird – who cares? It’s a business and it’s what he does. All that matters is that we get to see the results.

  26. Bob Burns

    In the book, Larsson constantly reminds us that the world of dangerous predators he is describing is not a fantasy, but real.

    I am hoping some of that urgency comes through in this movie.

    Love the character Lisbeth, of course – a superhero without all the BS.

  27. I can’t wait to see it. I’ve seen all of Fincher’s films and there’s never been one that was bad, they’ve all been entertaining.

  28. Mattenroe

    Excellent bit of writing. I’ve always loved the strength and honesty in your writing, Sasha, which is why youre the only critic whose site I visit every day! It’s refreshing to read pieces like this and really be able to feel when the writer has formed a connection to the film. Keep up the good work. I will continue to visit this site more than Facebook! :) and Merry Christmas too! X

  29. The Great Dane

    Beautiful review, as always Sasha. Whether people agree with your views on the film or not, they can’t take away how amazingly written your piece is. You remain the most thorough, interesting and best editor/writer in this endless Oscar circus. :)

  30. Great review. I even love your word choice (for example “shards”).

  31. Someone on the SAG & GGs FYC comments section said that SAG didn’t get screeners or any screenings of this film. That and this embargo business make me scratch my head a little bit. If this movie gets anything in terms of awards, they better give you a medal. You’ve done all the heavy lifting. This review is so late and you’ve been bursting at the seams to set it free. I hope for your sake, and if it’s good, for the sake of those that made it, that it can overcome this late start. But I didn’t actually read this whole review as I like to stay mostly spoiler free. Not that you have spoilers in there. I wouldn’t know either way. :) I always skip reviews until after I see it.

  32. I so often disagree with Tapley. Thanks for the excellent review. Very much looking forward to seeing this one!

  33. “…Especially some of the more intricate shots, like one in particular of Rooney Mara’s thighs with her hand dangling to one side holding a gun”

    Favourite shot of the year hands down.

  34. This review is PERFECTION!!!!

  35. Sasha, your review is wonderful. I was disappointed by the Swedish films-especially the last: Hornet’s Nest. No tension. The hospital scene, with the girl,trapped in her sick-bed and at the mercy of her enemies, was ripe for paranoia but there was none. Totally business-like. Compare it to a similar scene in The Godfather (with Michael protecting his father)– the paranoia in those hospital corridors was ice thick. Hopefully, Fincher and Reznor can improve the entire series.

  36. Went to a preview screening.

    Two things:

    1. The US version is way better directed.

    2. Rooney Mara gives a much layered performance. Noomi R. came first, but now she does seem kind of stiff.

    Great post, btw!

  37. One of the best reviews ever written. TGWTGT now tops my list of must-see films for 2011. Rooney Mara is starting to get a lot of positive buzz. If the momentum continues, I see her as a very strong contender. Fincher never ceases to amaze. Simply can’t wait.

  38. Beautifully written piece, Sasha. If I wasn’t hot to see this, I am now.

  39. Cole Ansier

    Beautiful review, Sasha! One of your best yet. Though we disagree on The Social Network, I have a feeling I’m going to love this one, although I suspect it’s not going to get the critical or awards love it should. Not that this is new for Fincher. The criminally underrated Zodiac, anyone?

  40. I haven’t seen the film but i would like to comment on the remark that:
    “Because a story about a female avenging those men who hate women is more relevant now that it ever has been. In fact, it’s downright revolutionary. The only kind of women we see are those who are unrealistic comic book heroes, or those who are trussed up as ultimate fantasy fodder for gamers. It’s getting worse, not better.”
    Aren’t you generalizing here? Especially in a year with female characters such as the ones presented in Shame, The Help, The Descendants and others… I don’t understand why the female sex should be avenged by such a hardcore image of a woman as Lisbeth Salander. It seems that in order to avoid one extreme(the perpetual bimbo), we are going for another extreme.
    Having said all that, i must add that i liked reading your review and that my point has nothing to do with your writing or the film that i haven’t seen.

  41. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    The only kind of women we see are those who are unrealistic comic book heroes,

    I see your point, Marie — but when I read those lines, it was “comic book heroes” that helped me understand that Sasha was mainly talking about women in action/suspense thrillers.

    Because, obviously, we’ve all read Sasha’s reviews of We Need to Talk About Kevin, Melancholia, and we’ve seen her admiration and support for the women in The Help all year long.

    So I read Sasha’s work in the context of other writing she does every day for the site — because awards season is more of an ongoing dialogue for us here, and that’s not always clear to visitors who may see an isolated review and want it to be the ultimate expression of Truthiness.

    ;-)

  42. Joao Mattos

    I will see this film with my mind completely open, even if my expectations are low, because: I don’t the original trilogy, don’t like David Fincher works (only “The Game”), and remakes made faster-than-a-bullet, and the trailers didn’t impress me. In fact, with so much “against it”, that probably I will like it :) Anyhow (and besides Criag and Mara), a movie with Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Robin Wright, and the f… awesome Steven Berkoff.

  43. Duck Soup

    A summary
    +Rah Rah Feminism! Cultural relevancy!
    +It’s a remake, sure, but it’s a really good remake
    +Rah Rah Feminism! Cultural relevancy!
    +It’s well made
    +Rah Rah Feminism! Cultural relevancy!

    I’ll just wait for Dargis.

  44. Sasha’s support of ‘Shame’ and ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ would suggest that she isn’t intimating a swing to the other side of the pendulum with Lisbeth. Though it is a new take for the genre.

  45. This review reads like a precocious 16 year old girl’s breathless take on a new TWILIGHT film.

  46. Really? You’ve seen a Twilight review with “fuckable” in it?

  47. Sasha! I in love with your review. Excellent writing! I have read the book and seen the original version. I totally agreed with those who wanted the American one to be rename: Men who hates women. That title is so strong.

    It was the title alone that made me want to read the first book in the first place

  48. Jenny Lee

    Excellent review!! 12-20, here I come!

  49. Gleiberman loved it! Now I almost feel guilty for scolding over Tree of Lfe and Shame……almost.

  50. “This review reads like a precocious 16 year old girl’s breathless take on a new TWILIGHT film.”

    Yep, she would have given the exact same review 6 months ago based on a still image.

  51. “Really? You’ve seen a Twilight review with “fuckable” in it?”

    I said, “precocious.”

  52. “This is some hot shit in 2011, when the decade swings back continually to a time when women couldn’t do much more than bake a pie and give great head.”

    WTF planet do you live on?

    Also, “swings back continually”? Really?? What you did to that metaphor should be against the law.

  53. This film will be as empowering as a Nike ad.

  54. Good review. My only issue is the comments about the film being a remake when it’s an American adaptation of the book.

  55. ATTENTION CITIZENS!
    HERE YE HEAR YE!
    NOW HERE THIS!

    re: your assertion “She might not be fuckable enough for some”:

    Rooney Mara is totally hot!

    The “fuckable” question doesn’t even enter into it.

    No question. Totally sexy. A new standard of sexy-tough-chick.

    And I do consider myself a “red-blooded” “American” “male”.

    (Damn, she’s hot.)

  56. Really like that you honored the original swedish version, I loved it so much, it earned an A+ rating from me, and those are rare! I have to admit the trailers for the remake look really good, and I am sure Mara kicked ass in this version. But I just can’t see it, I have too much love for the original.

  57. Ryan and Colin you are right about Sasha pointing out great female characters not only this year but for a long time now, which is something that i appreciate as a woman myself. That’s why i am hesitant of all the gushing for The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo. I hope the film does live up to the hype though…

  58. I’ve been looking forward to this because the book was terrible. 600 pages of some middling journalist’s spank fantasy that I took to riffing in my head just to get through it all.

    This article just confirms something I already suspected – Fincher can make a great movie out of lousy source material. Fight Club was a lousy book too, that’s why everyone only remembers the film.

  59. Superb!

  60. I can’t wait to see the movie. I loved all three of these books very much. However, I like the books for the action, the intrigue, the twists and turns, and of course, the characters.

    I interpreted Salander as a non-gender specific avenger. I felt like she wouldn’t take kindly to a woman who was abusing another man or woman, or to a man who was abusing another man or woman. I know that Larsson was a “feminist”, but maybe this character he so beautifully imagined can be like the androgynous hero for both men and women who have been victimised in one way or another.

    “Avenging those who would do wrong to others”

  61. Stieg Larsson wrote the books inspired by an event that happened around 1969-1970. Given that in 2010 all of the rapes in Oslo, Norway were perpetrated by Muslim men, does the movie reflect anything of current reality in the Scandavian countries, or does it portray the perpetrators as they were in 1970?

  62. Just another female fantasty farce. All the traits of woman. Manipulation, lies, self-adoration. Women are not noble creatures. They are sucubi who want men to ‘make them happy’ and be a meal ticket. If a man doesn’t worship her, she spits hate and calls him a bastard. Women today are spoiled whores in love with their own vagina. Women of the past had more guts, integrity, and self-respect than you ever will have.

  63. So, I’m good with this answer mostly. I mean, I really enjoyed the Swedish film and couldn’t come up with a good reason for anyone to bother remaking it other than the same annoying reasons (Americans lazy about subtitles, must have a movie of any book read by more than a few hundred thousand people). Having just seen the 8-minute trailer…why wouldn’t they set the film in the US? I can’t think of one reason to keep it set in Sweden. It’s not really important to the plot, unless I’ve forgotten something. Plus, Rooney Mara sure seems to have trouble maintaining a consistent accent. Again, something that could have been avoided by just setting the story in the US. Weird choice.

  64. Jesse Crall

    Finally saw this bad boy (girl?) last night. Best film of the year. You’re dead on in the review. Not having read the book, I had no idea misogyny played such a critical role and the film nailed such visceral hatred while also creating thrilling means through which women can fight back through justified violence or escape.

  65. Voraciously read the books, saw the Swede’s versions of all three. Wasn’t going to see a screening of the American version but just listened to an interview with Reznor. Have to see what he did with this material!

  66. b_mendoza

    This review is both perfect & brilliantly written!
    In case you hadn’t seen this… “@trent_reznor: A beautifully written piece on Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo: http://t.co/eRato6ty”

  67. Jennie Yeargin

    Saw this last night with my boyfriend. We both thought hands down the best picture of the year. From the opening credits you know you’re in for a ride. The acting, the music, the look and feel of the movie are excellent. Can’t wait to see it again with my sister.

  68. Haven’t seen this movie, won’t. Frankly, this Natasha Vargas-Cooper piece pretty much confirmed everything I was expecting w/r/t Fincher’s film:

    http://natashavc.tumblr.com/post/14813977472/what-makes-a-good-rape-scene-if-we-are-to

    Fincher’s too cool an aesthete to treat subjects like rape with any moral clarity or insight. The fact that, as Vargas-Cooper indicates in a follow-up post, he’s more invested in depicting as brutal a female-on-male rape scene later in the film, tells me that his sympathies don’t lie with women, but with the male viewer:

    http://natashavc.tumblr.com/post/14814943179/to-be-clear-i-think-male-directors-get-it-perfect

    In a way, The Social Network was a perfect film for Fincher because it was a film about someone who’s frankly uninterested in women except as a symbol. Which is what Fincher is. Women overwhelming serve a symbolic purpose throughout Fincher’s cinema, and we’re rarely given any sort of access or insight into their psychology or emotion: Seven, The Game, Fight Club, Benjamin Button.

    Panic Room, I suppose, could be argued as an exception, but that was a clear “one for the studio” film, and frankly the most compelling depictions authored in that film were of the (male) criminals.

  69. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Haven’t seen this movie, won’t.

    Always smart to trust someone else’s opinion as gospel truth instead of finding out for yourself.

    because this voice of authority you admire makes me wary of both your opinions.

    Perhaps Fincher meant to shock us by showing us all angles of a naked, writhing Rooney, bucking and screaming with all the lights on, but rather than shocking, it was somewhat arousing… so instead of looking away while an emotionally disturbed, malnourished woman is being forcibly sodomized, my animal parts started wriggling. Instead of cringing, I leered.

    I’m glad you’re skipping the movie. Now if we can just get you to stop telling us your opinion of a movie you haven’t seen.

  70. I don’t need to have someone shit down my throat to be able to tell you it’s an unpleasant experience. I can pretty much give you a review of that experience without having had it.

  71. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I’ll say again, brendon. I’m thrilled that you are missing this movie. I’m happy about it. Good.

    Just not looking forward to more clueless reactions to all the films you’ve never seen.

  72. Just now saw this for the first time. I love it. And you were right. I have been telling people it gets better each time, which is the mark of one of the greats. I’ve seen it 4 times thusfar :)

  73. The novel is really rich in detail and quick paced — And incredibly moving in depicting the struggles faced by its female protagonist. When I reached the final page I was disappointed that there was no more to read. I did not want the story to end. A middle aged journalist, and a troubled but incredibly talented young woman who works as a PI intersect to solve a labyrinthine plot. Apparently this was the first novel in a trilogy by the brillant writer, Stieg Larsson, who unfortunately died in 2004: the book contains a tribute to him and his career. The complex mystery, thriller aspects are really good, and then the whole other aspects of the novel which is also a social comment on society in Sweden, journalistic ethics, misogyny, and gut-wrenching sexual violence. So prepare to be disturbed by the darkness it depicts.

    All in all, its one of the best mystery /thrillers I’ve read from the last decade. In fact comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, the characters are not simplistic one dimensional cut outs at all. The rich characterizations and explorations of dark behaviour remind me of Elizabeth George. This is a superb novel and impossible to put down.

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