August 15, 2010

#092: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (4/10)

Lately I'd been hearing a lot of positive talk about the Swedish novel and film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Hollywood felt the story was compelling enough to make an American version starring Daniel Craig.  I was definitely intrigued to see what all the fuss was about.  I was very happy to see that the movie was available for streaming on Netflix.  Anytime you sit down to a foreign film that requires you to read subtitles you expect a slow pace and an artistic feel.  You definitely get the slow pace, but there isn't much art.  It feels more like a long episode of CSI than a film.  Right when I finished the movie I probably would have given it a 5/10.  The more I think about it the less I like it.  I'll drop my arbitrary rating to 4 out of 10.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The film started off really slowly, and was quite tough for me to get in to. As it picked up some pace I got into it more and more, but I never found it all that engaging.  The film making was so bland and visually boring. The director did'n't do anything interesting with his camera.  There was no style. The images just kinda sat there on the screen.  It seems like they wanted to stay true to the book, but in doing so they made a pretty bad movie.

With any mystery story, the audience wants to be right there with the heroes trying to solve the crime.  We want to experience the unraveling of clues in a way that makes us feel like we are right there with them putting the pieces together.  Dragon Tattoo completely fails at this.  How they go about solving the case was tedious and uninteresting.  It felt like a poorly conceived episode of CSI, that just lasted a long time.  I say this now as I look back on it, but while I was watching it I felt more favorably towards it.  It's almost like the LOST effect.  Now that I know how it all ends, the entire things seems so badly laid out.

From what I have written so far it would seem like I absolutely hated this film.  So why would I give it a 4/10.  Even though they don't do a whole lot with her, the best thing about this movie is the girl... with the dragon tattoo.  She has the potential to be very interesting.  A few sequences in this film were really fun to watch, and it is because of her.  I feel like there is a much better film hidden somewhere with this character.  This may be one of the few instances where Hollywood has a good chance to improve on something with their version.  I won't say that I am excited about seeing the American remake, but I am interested to see what they do with it.  I think Daniel Craig could be good as the male lead, but if the girl isn't great this movie will suck.

I will have to recommend that you skip the Swedish film version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  People seem to like the book, so you would probably be better served just reading that.  However, now that I have knowledge of the story, I have no desire to read the book... or any of the books for that matter.  This film felt very lazily made and poorly executed; a huge disappointment.
is a 2009 film about a journalist who is drafted to help solve an old murder mystery, and a hacker girl that gets involved with the case.  It is of course based on the novel written by Stieg Larsson.  The book has gotten a ton of praise, so I expected the film to have a solid story at its core. I've never read the book, so I have no clue what changes were made for the film.  I have to assume the novel was written really well, because at its base the story doesn't seem all that intriguing or compelling.

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