Tag Archives: Niels Arden Oplev

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

15 Apr

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Year: 2009
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Writers: Nikolaj Arcelo and Rasmus Heisterberg, adapting from the Stieg Larsson novel
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 152 min
Major Awards: 1 BAFTA
IMDb Rating: 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

Yes, this film may be too long, and yes, the violence depicted may be too intense and upsetting, some, like the great film critic A.O. Scott, saying it does the narrative a huge disservice, but I personally found The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to be an exceptionally rare film, one that I found myself loving and being extremely engaged to, this is a film that, whether it’s for the wrong reasons, like Mr. Scott, or for the right reasons, like me, you definitely won’t forget, and that’s mostly because of the riveting performance Noomi Rapace gives, her character is also the best part of this film, and I can’t wait to have the two sequels at the ready for me to love just as much.

The character Ms. Rapace plays is Lisbeth Salander, she’s a goth, she’s super thin, she’s small, she has piercings and tattoos, she’s damaged as hell and she’s a genius computer hacker. The intensity of the performance Ms. Rapace gives is beyond words and it translates well into Lisbeth, because Lisbeth is also a very intense, compelling girl, and as she starts investigating the disappearance of a young girl nearly four decades ago she finds a pattern of weird attacks on women that have been hidden for the duration, and she herself was a victim of abuses in her past, that’s when Rapace just turns it the fuck on, this is truly a magnificent performance we witness.

It helps that she has Michael Nyqvist’s character to play against, his character Mikael Blomkvist is a passive investigative journalist that is about to go prison in six months, and with Lisbeth he forms the most unlikely of partnerships as he is hired by a wealthy man to investigate the disappearance of his niece all those years ago, the story of the little girl being interesting as well. Nyqvist is great as well, the passivity of his performance contrasting in a great manner with the intensity of Rapace.

Their partnership is great to watch functioning, their research, everything they do really is not only interesting and well acted, but it is also well presented by Oplev, who also crafts a great look that complements this film as a terrific thriller, the inhabitants of the island the girl went missing in, the whole chilly look of it all, it’s just a fuckin’ brilliant film.

Now I’ll adress A.O. Scott’s two things he didn’t like about the film, and let me just note that Mr. Scott is someone I admire, aspire to be like, and is one of my three personal favorite film critics out there.

About the length of it all, which has been questioned by many, I personally find it not only not bothersome, but actually great, I’m a sucker for lengthy films that don’t bore, and not only does this one not bore us, but it’s positively fast and keeps us going at a pace an average-length film can aspire too, not to say it doesn’t feel as long as it is, it does, it just makes bloody good use of its time.

And about the extreme violence, it is in fact extreme, many are perturbed by it, and I don’t blame them, the scenes involving rape, assault and a number of other horrid things are seriously shocking, but they’re not there just to cause shock, they’re not there as a cheap stunt to grab your attention, they are there to illustrate something, and it’s a horribly tough thing to illustrate, thus their use, but what I liked is that I thought that they were shown with a sort of feminist viewpoint engraved in them which I always like.

This is a masterful film, I saw it and thought it would definitely be remade by Hollywood, and sure enough, it will be, and it seems as though David Fincher is set to direct and names like Kristen Stewart and Carey Mulligan (two of my personal favorites) have been thrown out there for the Lisbeth role, what I mean by this is is that it may turn out to be a really good remake, I just hope people not only see that one once it comes out, but check this one out before, as it will probably turn out to be the superior out of the two.

All in all this is a masterful film, it’s not only an action thriller with sex included, yes, it’s that in a way, but it’s also so much more in many other ways, it’s a terrific story, with capable direction and narrative capped off by a really solid performance by Nyqvist and a tour de force from Rapace, who I’m still gushing over from the sheer power of her performance.

Grade: A-

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