Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo


By Billy Stevenson

From all the critical buzz surrounding The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I went into its film adaptation expecting a good escapist thriller, with a few stylistic flourishes, and maybe an occasional sly nod in the direction of 'big issues'. All I can say is - what a piece of shit.

Where do i start? Firstly, it was a research/paper-trail thriller - a genre that can really work, but only when the research process is structured around a series of increasingly revelatory/transformative discoveries, or at least elaborates interesting/evocative research spaces (small town libraries, underground microfilm holdings, archives of every sort), or, at the very least, is deliberately bathetic/anticlimactic/underwhelming (think Zodiac). Here, every discovery was prefaced and telegraphed by (literally) about five to ten superimpositions/flashbacks/voiceovers, just in case we hadn't got it.

There was no character development/interiority. Again, not necessarily a problem for a procedural thriller, except that the 'girl' was imbued with this whole sensationalist backstory, which was supposed to imbue her motivations with darkness/depth, but, for me, just felt like one enormous gimmick, or, worse, a mere affirmation of the erotic potency of the central journalist (read: cipher for the author), who certainly didn't have potency of any kind without her.

It was set in a really evocative area of Sweden - but this just clarified how totally functional/unimaginative the direction was. Also, it was an unbelievably sensational/voyeuristic film - again, not necessarily a problem for me, but somewhat disingenuous in a film which purported to be more than 'mere' entertainment, which set itself up as some quite mind-blowing comment on the way we live now. I also get that Stieg Larsson was some kind of bad-ass nazi hunter, but, to be honest, this kind of Nazi Gothic has been done to death narratively (and especially cinematically)...really lazy use of nazism as master signifier, as immediate and idiotic signification of significance.

If this film were made in Hollywood, it would be panned. It was the ultimate middlebrow film: purported to be more than your 'average' thriller (read: to be above cinema), but in fact didn't have a fraction of the craftsmanship or subtlety that supposedly more mainstream, lowbrow films enjoy. From the hype - and especially the hype surrounding the book - i was expecting something with modest ambitions, but which satisfied them artfully and delicately. Instead i got something with grotesque, grandiose ambitions, which didn't satisfy them at all.

25 Comments:

Blogger Lynden Barber said...

Don't get where you're coming from with this - seemed to me it was trying to be nothing more than the polished police procedural it is - not Carl frigging Dreyer or Ingmar Bergman with bells on

4:04 AM  
Blogger Paul Martin said...

I found the film a ride I couldn't take. At every step, I felt confounded, trying to enter into its world. Every situation feels like an artificial construct and the sex and violence are purely gratuitous. Each time they appeared, they jolted me out of the film's universe, reminding me that I'm watching someone's idea of what I want to watch when in fact I couldn't get out fast enough. For me, I think it would work better as a TV series or multi-part telemovie. The story's construct is much better suited to it and I could imagine this as a BBC production (rather than Hollywood). The film is way too long. I think it's aiming at a fairly young audience, a similar demographic to the girl.

Lynden, I didn't find it polished at all but, rather, rough as guts.

3:46 PM  
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7:57 PM  
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5:03 PM  
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當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。...............................................................

7:58 PM  
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12:05 AM  
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1:42 PM  
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永遠不要躊躇伸出你的手。也永遠不要躊躇接受別人伸出的手。..................................................

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Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion...................................................

1:58 AM  
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能付出愛心就是福;能消除煩惱就是慧。........................................

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12:08 AM  
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6:14 PM  
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10:46 PM  
Blogger 陳淳 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................................

3:22 AM  
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3:51 AM  
Blogger 溫緯李娟王季 said...

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12:29 AM  

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