I rarely go to the movies anymore, and mostly because movies are not as good these days. I’m not taking anything away from the ones that are awards fodder or the ones I really like (Bridesmaids, hello?!?), I just never go to the theater that much on a regular basis. But when I do, I normally end up going with my parents, and they are cool people, yet I don’t think they or I was ready for the shocking scenes in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Let me start by saying, no, I haven’t seen the original. I knew about the Swedish trilogy (books and films) from friends and through my own brief investigation, I knew about the main characters. Well, only Lisbeth Salander. Her image is very striking: the hair, the piercings, the tattoos, it all sounded good to me. I sort of knew about the brutal violence in the story, but I had no idea how violent or how sexual explicit it was until I saw it…with my parents.
We were torn on seeing it or three other movies: The Adventures of TinTin, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, or War Horse. Time was tight, so I was sure Dragon was eliminated; I thought we would end up seeing War Horse. However, my parents decided to modify their original plans so we could be on time for Lisbeth and Mikael Blomkvist. As usual, we ended up running a little late anyway. My Dad has to have a snack, Mom doesn’t care if she has a snack, and I didn’t either but Dad ended up buying me a Coke. I sat down to save our seats while the concessions were too busy, Mom and Dad made it into the theater just as the actual movie previews began. First of all, thanks to Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the opening credits are maybe the most bad-ass I’ve ever seen. They were able to license Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (performed here by Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) but only for the teasers and the opening credits. Nevertheless, the score is really good, although it sounds no different from Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails stuff. Oh well.
Aside from the graphic sex and violence, including one memorable rape scene (WTF?!?), the film itself is very good, but it drags in spots and I know at least 30 minutes could have been cut off at the end. It’s already awkward when you see sex on screen with your parents sitting beside you, but this kind of brutality was on a whole other level and even I was a little in shock. My peripheral vision would dart over at my parents and they were speechless. Oh sure, me and Mom had our fair share of mini-riffing at a few elements, but the sex scenes were off limits. I could see myself mentally cowering into a corner when Rooney Mara’s naked body would pop up and it does A LOT, and secretly, it was a little guilty pleasure for me…shhhhhh! By the way, Golden Globe-nominated Mara is wonderful as Salander. I did determine she and her older sister actress Kate, best known as of late for American Horror Story, they sound and sort of look exactly alike. I hope the younger Mara can also capture an Oscar nod. Speaking of Oscar nods, how about one for David Fincher? This is not his best, but he’s certainly deserving of something considering he was able to take on an already established story and film.
I recommend The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I highly recommend leaving your parents at home!