Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - David Fincher (2011)

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a superior best-seller to blockbuster adaptation by David Fincher.
  2. Like Fight Club, this is way better than the book it's based on. Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian, have stripped out most of the dross about industrial espionage and the Venger family history. Lisbeth's backstory is reduced to one intense vignette plus a menacing hint about her Dad. And there's none of the stuff to do with Venger having employed Blonquist's father in the 60s. All this makes it a leaner and tighter thriller altogether.
  3. Speaking of which, Fincher cast Rooney Mara from the Social Network, instead of Scarlett Johansson, whom he rejected for being too sexy (which you have to like him for doing on behalf of all men, just once). At first the camera approaches her with caution, giving us the hard angles of her jaw and hair. But as the film progresses Mara's body is photographed pornographically. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with her body, but it is an unconventional sight in a blockbuster. Small-breasted and lithe as an eel, she's boyish, and never more so than when she's being handcuffed and sodomised (yeah, spoiler, if that's the word).
  4. Fincher seems to be intent on provoking several million hetero viewers to an experience of the 'queer' element of their own sexuality. For instance, during the rape did you walk out? Why not, were you enjoying it? And if that seems like an uncomfortable question, consider that this film is all about the terrible things that people won't admit to.
  5. If Fincher made the call not to move the action to the US it's not because he likes Sweden. Blonquist asks Harald, who sits surrounded by photographs of Scandinavian supporters of the Third Reich, why he doesn't redecorate. The exchange goes something like this:

    H:I'm the most honest
    B:In your family?
    H:In Sweden. My relatives want everything to have a shiny surface, like an Ikea table.

    Needless to say, this isn't in the book. Nor is this the first of Fincher's films to feature Ikea. As in Fight Club, the veneer hides something something far more savage.
  6. Martin Wenger's chamber of horrors is an upgrade from the cellar in the book, which is merely a basement, rather than a centre spread from Lairs Magazine. What else would be hidden beneath his sterile Scandi-house? Like interior design, like mind. It isn't quite fair, since Fritzl was Austrian, but the precedent does prevent you wondering too much about how he got the sofas down there without anyone noticing.
  7. Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor have put together a really intelligent score. You probably noticed the white noise as Lisbeth enters (she's a hacker, one who interferes), and the use of disjointed rhythms while they piece together disparate clues. Also that their cover of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant features a scream very like the one that Lisbeth lets out in the lift after her first meeting with Bjurman.
  8. Lisbeth's primal scream is important, it tells us that, fucked up as she may be, she offers the dark currents of her personality a clear channel into the world outside. The really evil people in this film are the hypocrites, the kind that live in a world of wheat-toned scatter cushions with a soundtrack by Enya. By breaking Martin Wenger's jaw she reveals his true face, as it would be if evil could be seen, and when she rides out into the forest after him they do so as the purest versions of themselves: a demon chasing a monster.
  9. The intro sequence is by Tim Miller at Blur Studio - not Kyle Cooper who did Se7en. As everyone keeps saying, it is like a James Bond intro, but there's a larger repertoire of fetish objects: guns, women, men, USB cables, rubber ball-gags and carnivorous plants, can you spot them all? And did it give you an erection? Just asking.
  10. You can buy Lisbeth's 'FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCK' nightshirt here. But to distress it properly you'll need to really put the hours in spooning heavily-pierced bisexuals.

1 comment:

  1. "Like interior design, like mind." If this movie has a meaning, this is it. Tattoo's look is so obsessively Sweedish that the design functions as an ideological through-line. Fascism looks like IKEA? Maybe so.