Posts tagged Rooney Mara
This week’s Weekend Movie Preview column has my review of Steven Soderbergh’s crime thriller “Side Effects.”
Summary: Psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) finds his happy marriage and successful career crashing down around him after he prescribes his patient Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) a new antidepressant, which has unanticipated side effects.
Director: Steven Soderbergh (“Magic Mike,” “Haywire”)
Writer: Scott Z. Burns (“Contagion,” “The Informant”)
Notable Supporting Actors: Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mamie Gummer
Click here to read my take.
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