Posts tagged David Fincher
When the opportunity arose to adapt Stieg Larsson’s thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for American audiences, Fincher was the obvious man for the job. Larsson’s novel about a disgraced journalist and a computer hacker investigating murder has the perfect twisted qualities for him to thrive on. It comes as no surprise then, that Fincher’s adaptation weaves a dark tapestry of rape, sex, and violence which will leave feeling you emotionally battered and queasy.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” starts out in Stockholm, where journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) has just been successfully sued for libel. Most people want nothing to do with him, so Blomkvist is intrigued when he’s summoned north by wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer).
Vanger reveals that he wants Blomkvist to investigate a 40-year-old murder in his family, in the hope that Mikael will find new evidence to out the killer. Despite the unusual request, Blomkvist accepts the offer because he senses that Henrik’s family members are hiding devious secrets.
At the same time we’re introduced to Blomkvist, we also become acquainted with our female protagonist Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a tattooed and pierced computer hacker working for a private investigation firm. Even though Salander is 23-years-old, we get the sense that she has been emotionally stunted. Mara portrays her with a social awkwardness fitting of someone half Salander’s age, exuding a childlike vulnerability, which is strangely off-set by her adult tendency toward violent rage.
In this way, Salander is an enigmatic character; the film alludes to a traumatic past, which has shaped her, yet it reveals very little of it. We do bear witness to new scarring ordeals however, in two horrifying rape sequences. Later on in an equally appalling scene, Lisbeth shows her hardened psyche when she exacts vicious revenge on her oppressor.
One of the most disappointing aspects of this adaptation is that it’s not very exciting in the first act, something unusual for Fincher. The two separate storylines involving Lisbeth and Mikael, aren’t very compelling on their own, aside from Lisbeth’s shocking experiences.
A larger complaint however is the over-sexualized lead character Lisbeth. Given Salander’s past and the sickening rape we witness, it would make more sense for her to be insecure with her body image. In Fincher’s version, Lisbeth ends up fully naked multiple times, and as painful as it is to grumble (Mara is quite attractive), all of the sex and nudity just doesn’t feel right for the character.
Aside from these annoyances “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a kick-ass thriller once Lisbeth and Mikael team up to investigate murder and corruption in the Vanger family. Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor are much to thank for their haunting score which creates tension so thick that you can cut it with a knife.
Terrific supporting performances also come from members of the Vanger family. Christopher Plummer’s sarcastic humor as Henrik and Stellan Skarsgård’s eerie calm as Martin, further add to the mystery in this whodunit.
While it is slightly long-winded at 2.5 hours, and the first act could be punchier, Fincher proves yet again that he can tell a story, which will challenge your stomach and your mind. For that reason alone, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is worth seeing at least once.
My Grade: B
“The Social Network,” directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, uses a similar device. Except instead of one untrustworthy character, we are subject to three unreliable perspectives. Each one has their own idea about how the social networking website Facebook was founded. What is so great about this film though, is that each point of view is represented fairly and thoroughly enough to let you decide for yourself what really happened.
“The Social Network” is a gripping drama directed by David Fincher (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Fight Club”), which tells the events behind the creation and proliferation of the social networking website Facebook.
Taking an objective stance, it shares the accounts of three separate parties that can’t seem to agree on a single truth. There is Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facbeook, Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg’s best friend and co-founder of Facebook, and the Winkelvoss twins, who claim Zuckerberg stole their idea to create his website. Through this method of storytelling, it is left up to the viewer to decide what really happened.
I sat down for a roundtable interview with Armie Hammer who plays twins Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss, Jesse Eisenberg who portrays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and the film’s writer Aaron Sorkin.
Q: Armie, you play twins in this movie. How was that accomplished?