February 1, 2012

And behold Mr. Fincher has transformed the snows of Sweden into a thing of obsidian beauty.

Hear ye all about it on’s digital paper as I go into sideways snow, the nature of violence against women, and the glories of mohawked hacker girls.

What better way to meet Stieg Larsson’s post-noughties heroine Lisbeth than via the director of Fight Club, Se7en and The Social Network? Oh and be sure to score the oh so tasty soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Around Her Neck a Razorblade: ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’

KARL R. DE MESA February 1, 2012 1:33pm

This is a briefing for a descent into the dark of snow.

As Lisbeth Salander, the titular hacker girl, enacts her elaborate and righteous vengeance on her legal guardian, Nils Bjurman, by tattooing his crimes on his chest a moment of clarity illuminates her face. “I AM insane!” she declares as we see the delicate, pixie features of actor Rooney Mara in close-up, her eyebrows bleached white, her mohawk a black halo, and eyes lit up by what might be the throes of retribution. . .or the onset of total dementia.

That is what this movie is, as much as it is about the story of a journalist aided in his search for a woman who has been missing (and presumed dead) for forty years by a young hacker: an exploration of the interior black. Dark, exquisite, and oh so very cold, Fincher’s version of this movie differs greatly and on so many levels from the original 2009 original Swedish version directed by Niels Arden Oplev in that it’s like talking about the disparity between chess and rock, paper, scissors. But we’ll get to that, later.

What you need to know about this movie is that it’s based on the first book of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy, the central and recurring character of which is Lisbeth. When he was 15 years old, Larsson witnessed the gang rape of a young girl and never forgave himself for failing to aid her. Her name was Lisbeth and in tribute he named his trilogy’s protagonist after her. The Lisbeth in the books is a rape victim as well, which fuels the theme of sexual violence against women in his books.

Take note, Larsson’s original title in the Swedish is Män som hatar kvinnor, which directly translates as Men Who Hate Women.

“We were committed to the tack that this is a movie about violence against women, about specific kinds of degradation, and you can’t shy away from that,” director David Fincher said in the international production notes. “But at the same time you have to walk a razor thin line so that the audience can viscerally feel the need for revenge but also see the power of the ideas being expressed.”

Fincher has a knack for illuminating the dark side of humanity whether in mainstream or fringe subculture in his previous outings like Fight Club, Seven, or more recently The Social Network (from which he drew his current lead star from, who played Mark Zuckerberg’s former flame Erica Albright). It’s no different on this one. he simply turns his energy to making a whodunit, a thriller and a socio-political commentary the Fincher way.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


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