Anthony Lane on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

This movie is currently showing in Menlo Park’s Guild:  hubby and self saw it a few weeks ago, but, alas, the post in which self gave her response to the movie vanished without garnering a single view.  Now, self reads with more than the usual interest a review of same movie by Anthony Lane in the 29 March 2010 issue of The New Yorker.  He seems to like it.  At least, more than self did.

This is how he summarizes the plot:

First, we get a prologue in which Blomkvist (played by a suitably dour Swede named Michael Nyqvist) is “found guilty of libel in an unconnected matter” (unconnected to the main mystery, that is, which is to find the missing grand-daughter of a wealthy industrialist) and is “sent to jail.  (The sentence is delayed for six months, which gives him time to solve the case of the disappearing girl).  Second, Lisbeth” (the heroine, the one with the dragon tattoo —  not to be confused with another girl with a dragon tattoo in movie “Hitman,” which they keep playing over and over on F/X, presumably so that fans of Timothy Olyphant can have him on demand, 24/7 if they so desire), who “has unspecified convictions in her past, has a new probation officer, who forces her to provide sexual services in return for a financial allowance” (This is the part that totally confused self:  She kept turning to hubby and asking, “So she’s an heiress???”  She didn’t get the fact that the man with access, apparently, to all of Lisbeth’s earthly wealth was her probation officer. But that’s because these days self is punch-drunk stupid from lack of sleep. But when did you ever hear of a probation officer doling out money as if he were administering a trust fund?)

Anyhoo, the probation officer keeps making disparaging remarks about Lisbeth’s sense of personal hygiene, yet seems to love running his porcine fingers through her (Amy Winehouse-type) black hair.  Not to worry, for Lisbeth “turns the tables, and basically rapes him back.  This frees her up to resume control of her own money, which buys her a new laptop, which allows her to hack into Blomkvist’s own computer  —  for no apparent reason other than sheer nosiness  —  all of which inspires him to take her on as his deputy.  Got it?”

Having never read the book on which this movie is based (The only Swedish mystery writer self has read is Henning Mankell), self has no way of judging Lane’s assertion that author Larsson “is concerned, to the brink of obssession, with cruelties of every stripe.”  But self didn’t like this movie for the same reason she didn’t like Kathryn Bigelow’s “Strange Days,” which contained plenty of scenes of women’s sexual humiliation.  Really, self doesn’t need to sit through a movie to be reminded that women are being abused every day, all over the world!

Oh, oh, but what’s this?  Anthony Lane states that he, too, during “a single winter,” “feasted” on the collected works of Henning Mankell!  Which reminds self of the summer when she, too, feasted, though summertime is a much nicer time to feast on neurasthenic Swedish mystery writers, because then one can with greater facility distract oneself from the unrelenting mournfulness of the Swedish climate.

Then, Lane states that the pivotal moment in the movie (Spoilers ahead!) is when Blomkvist pins up a row of photographs on a cottage wall (Very cozy:  Blomkvist and Lisbeth share the cottage and of course the bed), and Lane knew, he just knew that “half of them would turn out to have been Nazis.”  Why?  Because they were all blonde???

Hubby professed to like the movie.  Sometimes he says things just to get self’s goat.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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