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Published on March 10th, 2010 | by NaRocRoc


The Girl With The Men Who Hate Women…

Set in a dark and frosty Sweden, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a gloomy thriller about a journalist and a young female hacker who delve into the past and uncover a myriad of dark secrets. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, and based on the novel of the same name by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, this film will be eagerly anticipated by the many Irish fans of Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy”.

Facing prison time for slander, discredited journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired by a reclusive industrialist for one last job; to solve a long unresolved family disappearance. Aided by the mysterious and troubled computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander, the two uncover a darker world of brutality, deception and ritualistic murder. Alone and not knowing who to trust, they must fight for their own survival and reveal the truth.

That right there is the synopsis but in truth The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo doesn’t quite know what it is. And the movie suffers as a result. Some of the plot development is, to say the least, extremely convoluted. It feels like an ITV Sunday night murder mystery crossed with The Da Vinci Code. Add to that a bizarre Nazi back-story, a family with more dark secrets than a Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis, some corporate underhandedness and a treatise on man’s inherent misogyny and what you’re left with is a narrative that is just not sure where to go or how to get there. Some of the plot twists are laughable, relationships unconvincing and some of the narrative resolution is slight at best but head-in-hands cringeworthy at worst. People will leave this movie long before the end.

The makers have been too faithful to Stieg Larsson’s novel and have as such got themselves caught up in all kinds of a characterisation mess. As a result it’s hard to know who’s story this is. Is it the gloomy, troubled, ingloriously stereotypical computer hacker, biker, punk victim that is Lisbeth? Or is it Blomkvist, the middle-aged investigative journalist who spends much of the film staring at walls and stroking his chin. In truth it is hard to care or root for either of these unlikely protagonists.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo suffers from two main flaws: 1) it is way too long and 2) it drifts off on so many ridiculous tangents.

It is at times gripping and visceral but unfortunately sometimes overly so. It gets bogged down in trying to be too clever; theme and social commentary take precedence and the movie loses sight of plot. In so doing it paints a picture of men as sadistic rapists and never lets up from this angle. And believe me this will not make for a pleasant accompaniment to your bucket of popcorn. There are a number of scenes of sexual violence, including a brutal and graphic rape. In Swedish the source novel, and also the movie, are called Män Som Hatar Kvinnor which translates as Men Who Hate Women. This title is a more accurate description of the material within.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo opens at cinemas nationwide this Friday. For my mind there are better ways to spend your hard earned. A must see it is not.

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Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

5 Responses to The Girl With The Men Who Hate Women…

  1. Niall says:

    While I did find it too long I cannot say that I found it boring. I thought that it was a really rather good film noir mystery. Lisbeth is a fantastic character that Noomi Rapace captures really well. I would recommend that people go and see it.

    I was going to post a review for Culch but I was under embargo until Friday.

  2. NaRocRoc says:

    Niall, I never said it was boring. In fact I did use the words gripping and visceral! But it is hugely flawed and could’ve, should’ve been a much better movie. And surely it’s more Morse than noir!

    But horses for courses.

  3. Efa says:

    I really liked the books especially the second one. I’ll go to see this.

  4. NaRocRoc says:

    Do Efa! And please report back with your thoughts.

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