The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

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tenia
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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#301 Post by tenia » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:49 pm

After reading the 3 books and watching Fincher's movie, I can say that I pretty much disagree with Knives' reading of Salander's character from the book, but not from the movie. The thing that really bothered me in Fincher's adaptation is his treatment of Salander.

Larsson always said that his 3 books had a clear statement against women's degradation, whatever it can be. Salander has always been its message trasmittor : she is a victim to the last degree, and even if she avenges herself at some point, it is always in "self defense". However, as Mr Sausage wrote, she never is an agent of morality, Blomkvist is. He is the guy who is a detective, an avenger, the most progessist guy who walks on Earth. In fact, Blomkvist's behaviour is really apart of the realistic atmosphere of Larsson's books, because he is so positive he seems not human (but the end of the first book, unfortunately too trimmed down in the movie, is interesting in how it brings back Blomkvist in reality). In the movie, Salander avenges herself but clearly in the point of being left alone, and to be sure she will not be victimized again.

Also, I found the actor playing Bjurman much more attractive than its book's description, which almost surprised me. Furthermore, Salander, if she is a very literary character which can stays mute thanks to the narrator, is not a very cinematographic character, and hence, is made talks clearly too much here, almost socializing with people. So, I would say that the whole movie oversimplifies Salander's character and psyche by trimming down too many points which could have made her much more complete.

I understand the points made by Knives, but I don't think it should appy to Salander's character, only its US adaptation.


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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#303 Post by HistoryProf » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:00 am

zedz wrote:You can reverse engineer the psychology and character details all you want, but the sad fact is that what we see in the film is simply an adolescent boy's fantasy. The only consensual sexual activity we've seen involving her to this point is lesbian; the hero / author surrogate walks in on her with her girlfriend (a narrative set-up that's only been done in approximately 7 million porn films already); and then he's 'seduced' by her without having to lift a finger because she's evidently been so thoroughly overwhelmed by his seething virility. It's pure 13-year-old wet dream stuff, no matter how much Fincher or the actors scrabble to find fig leaves to cover that up.
I hate to burst your bubble, but perhaps you should read the books? it's made very clear in the originals that for salander sex is not about gender - but intimacy, and she freely has sex with both men and women as she sees fit. This is an entirely specious criticism.

Looking through this thread, i really have to wonder if anyone who is criticizing characters and motives has actually read the book(s)? Seems to be a whole lot of projection and misinterpretation going on here - especially w/ Brian C and Knives. All of which stems from the fact that the book is simply very dense with character development and its impossible to convey it all in 150 minutes on screen. But I can say that a lot of folks here are WAY off the mark in their interpretations of Salander and what she does and doesn't do in the film. It's hard for me to understand a lot of that since I've read them all and have so much subtext automatically inserted into the gaps I guess. But I feel like I watched an entirely different film from the one being discussed here.

The biggest clue to my inclination that no one here has actually read it is that no one has mentioned the drastically changed ending.
SpoilerShow
In the book, they pull the surveillance of Anita who does ultimately lead them to Harriet - who is alive and well in Australia - where she runs a sheep ranch and has a son. It's also made abundantly clear that she was sending the flowers in the belief that Henrik would KNOW she was alive and well, but of course they had the opposite effect. Here, Fincher just eliminates Anita altogether and has Harriet simply having adopted her identity with a throwaway line about Anita having died 20 years ago. With as fast as he paced everything, I don't see why we couldn't have 3 extra minutes to explicate the ending from the book - but Fincher seems to think his version is better from comments he has made in interviews.
This is still sinking in for me, but i definitely want to watch the Swedish version over now, and then see this again. One thing about Fincher's that stands out is how FAST it moves. I have to give the nod to Rapace in particular, and the general atmosphere and tenor of the Swedish version - which isn't as frenetic even though it too fights a losing battle in trying to fit so much into the narrative. All in all I enjoyed this immensely, and think he did as well as he probably could with the constraints of time being a simple reality. Mara impressed me, and she certainly gave it her all, but Rapace really became the Salander I saw on the pages of the books. I guess in the end I'm just not capable of separating the books from the films in how I respond to them.
Last edited by HistoryProf on Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#304 Post by Brian C » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:38 am

books ≠ movie

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#305 Post by knives » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:41 am

Brian C wrote:books ≠ movie
This, though to be fair Zedz virility crack doesn't make any sense in context. Craig is at his most pathetic at this point and it's clearly a power play on her part.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#306 Post by HistoryProf » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:58 am

Brian C wrote:books ≠ movie
I understand that...but can't you also understand that you are levying criticism at things that are explained entirely in the book(s)? Granted, the film does need to stand on its own merits in the end, but as I said, I for one can't really do that since I know all of the subtext and background that's not in the film. people put books and film adaptations together all the time in how they critique them, I don't see why this should be any different. And from where i'm standing, it's pretty frustrating to watch people go off in directions that are entirely specious if you've read the book. Never mind the fact that, as it's been noted, suggesting that Salander bedding Mikael was somehow a juvenile fantasy and a 180 for the character is a complete misreading of her character even if you only have seen the film. She's clearly comfortable with him, but it's still about power and she initiates everything. The character of Lisbeth TAKES because she's always been taken advantage of. whether it's money, sex, or information - she is always in control and does what she wants to on her terms, and that includes sex. Blomvquist has zero to do with that happening.

And a lot of small things - like mentioning the fact that Bjurman is looking at Tattoo removal websites - is all part of the narrative that continues in the upcoming segments. Every line is part of the fabric of the trilogy. So again, I have a hard time taking them seriously when such criticisms come from an inherently ignorant platform. I don't want to suggest that people should have to read a book to understand a movie - but in this particular case it seems to me that the movie(s) are ultimately being made for the fans of the books, and I think it's clear that Fincher knows the majority of his audience has read them and he made choices with the comfort of knowing people will come into it with enough background to "get" what he is showing us. When you are watching a film where the director admits he just tossed out 350 of the 500 pages without the benefit of those 350 pages of information, you are bound to misinterpret something when he is making the film with those embedded in his story (and much of the audience is experiencing the film similarly). This is a unique case in my opinion, where the books are essential to appreciating the film(s).

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#307 Post by Jeff » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:38 am

HistoryProf wrote:I think it's clear that Fincher knows the majority of his audience has read them
A majority? I can't imagine this is true at all.

I like Fincher's film, and don't necessarily agree with zedz's characterization of Salandar, but I don't think that this film should be any more dependent on its source material than any other film. You can't say that one is ignorant about the characters in a film because they haven't read the source material. If it's not in the movie, then it's not in the movie.

To me it would be like saying, "You can't criticize Jack Clayton's version of The Great Gatsby for having underdeveloped characters and little meaning beyond its surface. The source material has complex characters and is steeped in symbolism, therefore if you don't appreciate what the characters in the movie are really like, you're just ignorant."

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#308 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:12 am

Agreed, and for the same reason, if a film is altered in order to better adapt it for the screen, I've never understood people (outside of the original author, I suppose) complaining about changes made. It's a totally different piece that should be made to stand on its own.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#309 Post by Brian C » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:22 am

HistoryProf wrote:I understand that...
I don't mean to sound smarmy here, but the rest of your comment seems to demonstrate that you don't, in fact, understand that.

If the book complements the movie for you, that's obviously fine, and I think it's unreasonable for anyone to say that your reaction is invalid. But there's nothing "specious" about ignoring the source material when critiquing the movie; in fact it seems far more specious to me to say that one needs to have read the novel in order to properly evaluate the movie.

And your arguments for why TGWTDT is a unique case are very unpersuasive, given that they could be applied equally to any adaptation of any popular source material. Actually, I think they might even be less persuasive in this case than with most popular adaptations, since you seem to be saying that Fincher's radical changes from the novel (by disregarding 70% of it) mean that reliance on the novel is even more important. But I'd say the opposite is true - if the movie relies on the source material and is unable to stand on its own, then it's failed as an adaptation.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#310 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:02 pm

Wow, the Blu-ray has superb packaging - apparently the disc art is randomized and I'm kind of bummed I didn't get the Vanger photo ones (I got extreme closeups of Craig and Mara) but the whole set is incredible, with spine art that just screams out from the shelf (The Social Network set sort of blew it in that department, all they had to do was make the film's title Facebook blue on the spine and it would have been perfect). Oh, and proof that I'm not completely cured of my lifelong battle with OCD: Disc Two says "Disc Two: Supplements" on it, but Disc One says "Disc One The Film" without the colon. D'oh! My pursuit of perfection continues.

And to think - we thought this release was going to be barebones when it was first announced!

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#311 Post by domino harvey » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:08 pm

You left out my favorite part: the faux DVD-R that's practically imbedded beneath the packaging-- it's so convincing I did have to double-check that it wasn't an actual DVD-R. (EDIT: Looking back one page, you did not :-" )

As for the film itself: Hmmm. For a film filled with rapes and rape-murders, it was far more traditional than I expected-- a glossier version of those amateur detective murder mysteries that were quite en vogue in the nineties. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that the books are so popular, this shiny film itself is very much airport lit brought to life, albeit with style and some mild eccentricities. I was surprised at how marginalized Mara's character was within the narrative-- her's may be the most memorable role/performance, but it's a supporting one for most of the film.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#312 Post by swo17 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:53 pm

BREAKING NEWS
mfunk9786 wrote:Disc One says "Disc One The Film" without the colon.
I just got this from Netflix today, and my copy has a colon. :P

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#313 Post by domino harvey » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:57 pm

Mine didn't-- perhaps Netflix's grammatical standards are stronger than that of retailers

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#314 Post by HistoryProf » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:09 pm

Brian C wrote:
HistoryProf wrote:I understand that...
I don't mean to sound smarmy here, but the rest of your comment seems to demonstrate that you don't, in fact, understand that.

If the book complements the movie for you, that's obviously fine, and I think it's unreasonable for anyone to say that your reaction is invalid. But there's nothing "specious" about ignoring the source material when critiquing the movie; in fact it seems far more specious to me to say that one needs to have read the novel in order to properly evaluate the movie.

And your arguments for why TGWTDT is a unique case are very unpersuasive, given that they could be applied equally to any adaptation of any popular source material. Actually, I think they might even be less persuasive in this case than with most popular adaptations, since you seem to be saying that Fincher's radical changes from the novel (by disregarding 70% of it) mean that reliance on the novel is even more important. But I'd say the opposite is true - if the movie relies on the source material and is unable to stand on its own, then it's failed as an adaptation.
That's completely fair. I admit I have a hard time being objective about this one because I got so engrossed in the books. I just think some of the criticisms of the
SpoilerShow
sexual relationship between Salander and Mikael completely miss the point - and even in the film the point seems pretty obvious. I don't see how you can call it a puerile fantasy of the author when the act has zero to do with the male character other than as an object Salander can use at the moment for pleasure. I guess if there is a mis-step by Fincher in that regard, it is over-emphasizing her emotional attachment to Mikael...but that is in the book, as is the scene where she sees him with Erika and throws the gift away and then takes off.
Last edited by HistoryProf on Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#315 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:25 pm

I hate to be the one who always says this but you might want to use spoiler tags for some of that.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#316 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:17 am


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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#317 Post by zedz » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:30 pm

HistoryProf wrote:I don't see how you can call it a puerile fantasy of the author when the act has zero to do with the male character other than as an object Salander can use at the moment for pleasure.
Huh? Why on earth does a male sexual fantasy have to position the male in the dominant role? Especially when the female partner in the fantasy coupling is some kind of armed-and-dangerous Goth superhero, isn't that a screaming fire alarm that the fantasy in question has an S/M edge, with the non-Goth non-superhero as the bottom?

Also, if you seriously want to signal 'lack of virility' in your protagonist, you don't cast James Bond. In fact, you're more likely to cast somebody who looks like the author, whose fantasy this is, after all.

And no, I haven't read the books and never had much interest in doing so (with 'not much' interest dwindling immediately to 'none whatsoever' once I saw the film), but when I bought my ticket the guy at the cinema told me that I was allowed to see the film anyway, just this once. So I guess you've got him to blame.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#318 Post by Jeff » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:38 pm

zedz wrote:Also, if you seriously want to signal 'lack of virility' in your protagonist, you don't cast James Bond. In fact, you're more likely to cast somebody who looks like the author, whose fantasy this is, after all.
Maybe if Craig isn't available for the sequels they'll recast with Toby Jones.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#319 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:14 pm

What I want to know is what counts as a non-puerile sex fantasy? Isn't anything involving sex potentially open to this charge (of being a puerile fantasy)?

It's also worth keeping in mind that one person's fantasy is another's reality. Where a threesome involving two voluptuous women is to one man an adolescent's fantasy, to another it's an experience that has long since become routine.

The reason for me that the scene in question isn't particularly worth criticizing as a fantasy (puerile or otherwise) is because it's not played that way. It's blunt. There's no fantastic or sensuous build-up, no teasing. Salander just suddenly disrobes, in a very unerotic way (and the camera doesn't linger), so much so that Blomkvist can only sputter in astonishment. It's not filmed to be the audience's fantasy, then, so it's really only the situation in general that could be a fantasy. And if so, that's only because it's outside of your experience rather than outside of plain experience. Guaranteed you'd be surprised at how many people would consider the same thing a familiar part of life.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#320 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:19 pm

I'll allow that Mara's character has sex with Craig for her own pleasure, but it's hard for me to agree that he's some less-than-willing participant-- Let's not forget Craig's ex-wife and current squeeze are both played by Embeth Davidtz and Robin Wright, two very attractive Hollywood actresses, so it's not like he's ever shown to be hurting for companionship. It doesn't help that her hurt response at the end undermines the supposed "frivolous" nature of her interactions with Craig, positioning the power back on him-- he can hurt her. I assume she "toughens up" in the subsequent books or something

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#321 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:35 pm

I feel like the friendship builds after the first sexual encounter, and wasn't something that Lisbeth was expecting at the outset. With the combination of those two bonds, she makes the mistake of letting him into a heart that has been torn apart by men from her childhood, and comes out of her shell a bit - only to toss her ambitions that perhaps something more might be going on into the garbage... literally.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#322 Post by Brian C » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:36 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:What I want to know is what counts as a non-puerile sex fantasy? Isn't anything involving sex potentially open to this charge (of being a puerile fantasy)?

It's also worth keeping in mind that one person's fantasy is another's reality. Where a threesome involving two voluptuous women is to one man an adolescent's fantasy, to another it's an experience that has long since become routine.

The reason for me that the scene in question isn't particularly worth criticizing as a fantasy (puerile or otherwise) is because it's not played that way. It's blunt. There's no fantastic or sensuous build-up, no teasing. Salander just suddenly disrobes, in a very unerotic way (and the camera doesn't linger), so much so that Blomkvist can only sputter in astonishment. It's not filmed to be the audience's fantasy, then, so it's really only the situation in general that could be a fantasy. And if so, that's only because it's outside of your experience rather than outside of plain experience. Guaranteed you'd be surprised at how many people would consider the same thing a familiar part of life.
The obvious question you're begging here is how a scene can be "filmed to be the audience's fantasy" if fantasy is such a relative phenomenon. You seem to assume that such a thing is possible, and that Fincher avoids it, but at the same time your implication is that such a thing is impossible due to the very nature of fantasy.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#323 Post by swo17 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:36 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:I feel like the friendship builds after the first sexual encounter, and wasn't something that Lisbeth was expecting at the outset.
Can someone please just tell me if they end up getting married? I don't want to read the books.

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#324 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:42 pm

The Girl With the Dragon: I Do

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Re: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011)

#325 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:56 pm

domino harvey wrote:I'll allow that Mara's character has sex with Craig for her own pleasure, but it's hard for me to agree that he's some less-than-willing participant--
I don't recall saying he wasn't a willing participant. That he sputters in astonishment when she suddenly disrobes is undeniable. When she jumps on top of him, he relents, as you might expect.
domino harvey wrote:It doesn't help that her hurt response at the end undermines the supposed "frivolous" nature of her interactions with Craig, positioning the power back on him-- he can hurt her. I assume she "toughens up" in the subsequent books or something
I don't know that anyone aside from you has claimed that every single one of her "interactions" with Craig are frivolous. Let's say the first one is. It does not follow that every subsequent one is. It's pretty clear that her feelings for Craig develop throughout the film. My favourite moment is from later on, when Craig carelessly slides his hand up her shirt and strokes her shoulder for a moment. When he removes it, she asks him to put it back. It's a nice little human moment, and it makes clear that she has opened herself up to the possibility of affection and intimacy between them. In doing so, yes, she gives him the power to hurt her. Opening yourself up to someone always does. It's part of the movie's aim to make Salander a more human character, and if it had let her remain above being hurt emotionally, she would be less human and less interesting.
Brian C wrote:The obvious question you're begging here is how a scene can be "filmed to be the audience's fantasy" if fantasy is such a relative phenomenon. You seem to assume that such a thing is possible, and that Fincher avoids it, but at the same time your implication is that such a thing is impossible due to the very nature of fantasy.
You're confusing points of view here. The one in quotes deals with the point of view of the filmmaker and what he is trying to achieve with his techniques (even a mundane occurrence can be filmed in order to appear fantastical). The paragraph preceding it deals with the point of view of an individual audience member, say.

Now, I invoked the filmmaker's point of view to eliminate the possibility that the scene was being deliberately presented as a fantasy. Once done, I was free to look at why it might appear to be a fantasy to this or that audience member, and whether, in the absence of a special intention on behalf of the filmmaker, such arguments are problematic.

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