Friday, 2 April 2010

Hack and Slay [Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo]

Stieg Larsson's novel featuring hacker and avenging angel Lizbet Salander has been made by Niels Arden Oplev into an exciting and beautiful thriller. On the whole. As with District 9 it's great to see a well-cast cast of unfamiliar, non-Hollywoodized players. In particular Salander herself is always a kind of fantasy character in the novels - just too damn good at everything - but Noomi Rapace manages to bring her to life. The film kept me on the edge of my seat even though I'm familiar with the book, and delivers plenty of tense moments. Two forgiveable flaws: it's a long film and it does outstay it's welcome but only by a smidgeon, and the scenes of sexual torture, although absolutely essential for the plot and tone of both novel and film, are also too long - shorter glimpses might have had more horror impact.

On the cinematography:if you read the same filmmaking books I read you might be forgiven for thinking that there is a simple equation linking quality of film to shallowness of field. On this basis The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the best film ever ever made, as in almost every scene the depth of field is reduced to a few millimetres. I have to admit it is a great look, combined with suitably bleak locations and clever use of ultra-pale colours. Also, and I think this is down to the atmosphere, this film succeeds where Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code fails - in making the quest to track down information dynamic and fun.

See this film now. The re-make phenomenon is currently at apogee: re-makes of great films are entering production before the originals hit the screens, and there's a Fincher-directed version of this film taking shape in a dark and sinister Hollywood cellar even as we speak. Actually I'm looking forward to the inevitable result of this trend: in just a few years time they'll be making the re-makes first.

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