Friday 9 April 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [2009]

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a psychological thriller of the first order, and has at its core a mystery tale that will grip you from start to finish despite its generous length. But what elevates it beyond any generic confines lies in its compelling character study. A relentlessly dark and brooding film, the movie, based on the immensely popular novel of the same name, is about Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced middle-aged investigative journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, an enigmatic computer hacker with a brilliant mind and a sordid past, getting together to try and solve a very cold case and unravel the mysterious disappearance of the niece of a wealthy patriarch forty years back; in the process they end up opening a can of ugly worms and solving the deadly trail of abused bodies left by a psychotic serial killer. Scandinavia here doesn’t just have cold weather but is also infested by perverse misogynists, and the grotesque sides of human nature have been ripped apart from seemingly amicable veneers by the director. Michael Nyqvist, as the obsessed journo, has brought in a sense of calm and humanity in this disturbing film otherwise largely dominated by the terrific performance of Noomi Rapace as the tattooed, pierced, heavily promiscuous and emotionally scarred Lisbeth. The movie is certainly not for the chicken-hearted as it boasts of grim subplots, bleak nihilism and denouements, and intense violence – both physical and emotional, apart from a dense, labyrinthine plot and observations that revel in capturing the minutest details of the investigative process.

Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Language: Swedish
Country: Sweden


Sam Juliano said...

What you say here Shubhajit in this deftly observed essay is undeniable, and there's plenty to do like in this film, but on balance I'll admit I like it less than you. It's suffers from over-length, and as a result some of teh narrative here is convoluted, not allowing for the character development I would have appreciated, but it's still exceedingly entertaining, and the title character is always fascinating

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Yeah, from your brief review of the movie at one of your Monday Morning Diaries I'd gathered that though you'd reasonably liked the movie, you weren't overwhelmed by it. As for me, I felt the length actually works in the movie's favour as the slow pacing lets the plot development take its sweet time and the characters to grow on the viewers.

Roy Stafford said...

I agree with your take on the film but I question your description of Lisbeth as 'heavily promiscuous'. She has a lesbian friend and she decides to sleep with Blomkvist – who she knows fairly intimately after watching him for so long. Some commentators have taken her to be a lesbian, but I take her to be bisexual. I don't take this behaviour to be promiscuous.

I'm intrigued that you got to see the film. Has it been released in Kolkata or did you find a DVD? Do you think that you'll manage to see the other two films? I think that the story (in the novels) gets more interesting, though I suspect that the first film will prove to be the most accessible for general audiences.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Roy for stopping by. Well, she's shown sleeping with just 2 people in the movie, but her attitude towards sex is casual and detached at best. Even when she decides to get into bed with Blomkvist, it seems the reason initially is to have a quickie rather than to form any emotional bond which gets revealed with the reaction she gives when Blomkvist feels the need to further their relationship by spending the night in the same bed as her's instead of going back to his own after the act.

And as for your query, let me not go into the sordid details as you will not appreciate the means I used to get my hands on the movie ;) I too am looking forward to the next 2 movies of the trilogy, though before that I'd want to read the books by Stieg Larsson.