David Fincher's Girl With A Dragon Tattoo - 20th December 2011

There he is, look at him there on the poster, the charisma-vaccuum himself, broody, pouty Daniel Craig and next to him a pierced pale goth chick you've never heard of.

What are they doing there I hear you cry?

Well they are there to bring you this generation's Silence of the Lambs and what I mean by that is an outrageous pulpy lot of old implausible and predictable nonsense tarted up with a good director and some amazing performances to convince you with its moody poster and bleak landscapes it's really a classic work of art.

Except that it isn't. It's Midsomer Murders with a graphic and disturbing rape scene. It's a 3hr nordic Inspector Morse. It's Poirot with tits.

That this received an R rating where the sight of Michael Fassbender's old chap in Shame has garnered an NC-17 is, quite frankly bewildering. While I have no intention with this piece on spoiling anything about the plot, I would say this is not a film for the sensitive.

I came out of the film an hour ago and as the credits rolled I loved it. I thought it to be perfectly made, very well acted, beautifully shot and a good story, simply told but with Fincher's usual subtle attention to detail. All the richness you required just tantalisingly out of reach. The trouble is, on the walk home  I talked myself into seeing all of its flaws.

The subject matter, basically a hunt for a killer, is a well trodden path for Fincher and this does have some repetition from, what I consider to be his masterpiece, Zodiac, except with Daniel Craig leaning and posing in a straight-from-a-magazine-photo-shoot stylishly sparse Swedish cottage wearing the latest Banana Republic 'cosy thinking man's range'. It was, however, infinitely more watchable than that tedious fleck of arse beard picking that was the Social Network.

Although I haven't read the book, I get the feeling that most of the problems I have with the film stem from the book and if there's any criticism to throw at Fincher and the screenwriter it's that they followed the whole thing too slavishly and meticulously. So no surprise there then.

There were certain scenes in it that were staggeringly graphic and disturbing but actually, with hindsight, did little to inform you about the character in question (the titular girl with the named mythical creature doodle) beyond 'she's cleverer, more resourceful and disturbed than you thought isn't she and don't worry she'll be fine for money for the rest of the film' and I am sure there is a better way to inform me of all of that than what you did show me which was excessive and perverse seemingly just for the sake of it.
In fact the entire vague back story of our Girl with the Dragon Tattoo can be summoned up by the title of the film. We know what we know about her because of the simplistic yet attempting to be mysterious things we are told and shown.
She has a dragon tattoo, relevent no? dark and edgy? not in the slightest most 12 year olds probably have a tattoo at this point, sounds mysterious and possibly Asian for the cover of your novel? BINGO! Instant hit.

From all my experience of pierced, ever changing goth haired, bi-curious, blank eyed, pale skinned, mopey girls who wear t-shirts with the words fuck on them while carrying around $1500 Apple laptops in their army-surplus black rough-weave back packs is that they are excessively dull and uninteresting people who listen to dreary music and have predictable Daddy issues. I thought we'd all moved on but no, here comes this story and despite it being acted the hell out of in a very brave and gripping way by relative newcomer Rooney Mara, as a character she is a strutting cliche of what middle class white guys THINK is edgy and interesting but really she probably smells like a rusty tap water soaked bath once used for making meth and drowning rats.

It's just all a bit obvious as is the 'internet solves and knows everything' and 'computers are capable of everything in the blink of an eye' writing that passes for detective work. It's all pointless anyway anyone who knows anything will have spotted the villain in the first 10 minutes of meeting them.

The whole film is covert misdirection on Fincher's part to convince you that what you are watching is deep, twisty and turny, dark and edgy, adult and loaded with meaning when really it is a simple murder mystery in a stately home with a family full of secrets that you'll see every week you tune into Lewis (or pick your mopey detective of choice). Thinking back on it now and the overly graphic scenes really did exploit me and left me feeling cheated because they actually didn't inform the overall story at all. There were little to no consequences (for her) during the rest of the film at all.

It was fine, it was good, it never felt slow to me and the 3hrs passed ok.
There are slight pacing issues as it has the multiple ending syndrome that plagues over-reaching nonsense like this and a montage at the very end feels rushed and inartistically put together compared with the rest of the film but that was small potatoes when viewing it as a whole. When Fincher puts his mind to a set piece he can accomplish interesting things with editing, juxtaposition and tension like no other, he needs to move away from these shitty scripts and do something that matches his intelligent, diligent and detailed approach.

Also why are some people doing accents and others aren't? is this all explained in the second book?

It's got to be better than Bryan Singer taking on a big budget film of Jack and the fucking Beanstalk, right??

7 out of 10 predictable yet beautifully tossed salads

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