“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
Yes, it’s a re-make.
The original Swedish film was such a sensation that the English
translation of the book caught on, then the 2 sequels, and now we make an
English-language version of the Swedish film, still utilizing the cold
remoteness of winter in the Baltics, even occasionally showing newspaper
clippings in Swedish, but everybody speaks English, whether or not with a
OK, so you have to suspend disbelief
even to begin, but you do, anyway, with this film, with the title character,
Lisbeth Salander, being so smart she can hack anywhere, anytime, and so abused
she’s nearly demented and so mean she can reverse a rape and so socially
awkward that she doesn’t even bother responding to common niceties like
“Hello, how are you?”, and somehow giving off an asexual vibe while being
functionally bisexual? And she’s only
23? Well, yes, a dragon tattoo on her
back would be the least of her startling proclivities. But somehow relative
newcomer Rooney Mara pulls off this unique, demanding, almost-iconic part
convincingly, and this just might be her “breakthrough role.”
Daniel Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist, a
once-respected feature writer, now disgraced, because of some expose he had
written about a corporate huckster, when one of his primary sources was a
plant by the slick huckster, who could then successfully prove libel.
Mikael has job security because he’s carrying on an affair with his
editor, but he can’t stand her charity, so he resigns, and then accepts this
strange invitation to do research for a private citizen, Henrik Vanger
(Christopher Plummer), who lives on a remote family compound and wants Mikael
to find out what really happened to his niece, who disappeared, as a teenager,
thirty years before. No body was ever
found. It seems the family
relationships are more than convoluted, and because there is a successful
family-owned business, all of them have money, so they can do, or not do,
precisely as they please, and one of the things they refuse to do is get along
with each other.
Mikael quickly realizes that he’s in a
quagmire, so he enlists the aid of the mysterious young researcher whom Vanger
hired to do a background check on him, because she was so thorough and so
unobtrusive. Enter Lisbeth Salander,
who apparently is still a ward of the State, with a guardian who indulges her,
but when he suddenly has a stroke, a temporary guardianship turns out to be
yet another emotional nightmare in a life already filled with them.
Yes, she looks like some goth-punk-nihilist with attitude, but with a
raw energy that demands attention even while pretending not to seek it.
All this conflicting data will cause
some confusion in the viewer, because the story is not strictly linear, and
because there are gaps in the information provided, and there are some viewers
who will be frustrated by this kind of plot collage.
There are other viewers who will be offended by the rather explicit
sexuality, both consensual and non-consensual, yes, as if participating as an
unwitting voyeur in some sick sado-masochistic horror sequence, but somehow it
all adds to the raw, disturbing, dark, seamy depravity of this film---which
some will revel in, and some will be repulsed by, but you can’t help but be
It’s certainly not for everyone.
But seeing “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” will at least give you
an idea of what the fuss has been about, both with the books and the films.
But it’s definitely not family-friendly entertainment.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,