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

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oh yeah
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm

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

#404 Post by oh yeah » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:39 pm

I finally watched this. Absolutely loved it; I think it's my favorite Fincher, with all due respect to Gone Girl and Zodiac which are right up there. Didn't catch it in theaters and held off for a while because I have a hard time watching rape scenes and this one sounded awful. Well, it is awful, but in the right way. There's absolutely no hint of titillation, no sexualization, glamorization. It's possibly the most horrific thing I've seen in a film in recent memory; I watched Irreversible years ago and though my memory of it is faded I have the impression even that was not quite so definitively stomach-churning in its portrait of sexual violence as Fincher's film. Particularly hard to take were Lisabeth's anguished screams and howls and grunts throughout as she tries in vain to do anything, anything at all, to get out even though she knows she can't. That moment when he handcuffs her and she realizes what she's in for and we track slowly away from the closed door... absolutely chilling. In short, I don't think this scene was mishandled at all, though I can see myself skipping it over on re-watches.

Visually and in terms of the editing, the film, like Gone Girl and Social Network, shows Fincher getting better and better as he carves out his own style and evolves it further. I mean, he's been a distinct auteur since the 90s but I think there's clearly a switch of aesthetics between Panic Room and Zodiac (though I haven't seen Button, which seems like an outlier) -- and then the last three flicks, with their continuity of the wonderful Reznor/Ross scores and crisp RED-filmed image, seem to me very different from Se7en, The Game and Fight Club, more mature and complex in their play of images. I was just so drawn into this film; Fincher's fast-paced editing style is invigorating without ever being manic and unreadable, every shot carries a certain weight to it, it's just like a masterclass of cinema. And I'm a long time skeptic of the director, but recently I just can't avoid how brilliant the last few films have been in taking on a kind of new style of their own; information-packed, digitally shot treatises on the cruelty and double-crosses and traps of the modern world, scored by this perfectly, sometimes oddly upbeat electronic music which, in a way, recalls a new incarnation of all those Tangerine Dream-scored films in the late 70s/early 80s. The major-key uplift and chugging forward movement of the score goes perfectly with the tenor of the editing which is so relentless and scientifically exact. It's some of the most precise filmmaking out there.

And the cast, yes, wonderful. I dunno, I really need to see this a second time to give a more coherent and balanced response perhaps, but for now I just found this film an embarassment of riches.
Also, did anyone else get reminded of Mann's Manhunter in the scene of Craig being held captive while Enya plays? not only the white, white wall behind him (like Lecter's cell in that film), plus Fincher's general debt to Mann, but also the incongruous choice of music, as with Iron Butterfly at the climax of Manhunter.
Further on that, I bet Mann watched this film at least a few times in preparation for Blackhat. Both are brilliantly incisive portraits of our digitized, globalized world. Both Mann and Fincher imbue technology with both awe and a sense of alien eeriness in their depiction of isolated loners with a mastery of the technical coming together with another person for the greater good and forming a tentative bond that's not guaranteed to last. And both may be my favorite films of the decade thus far, for what that's worth.

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