Sunday, July 25, 2010

Double Movie with Abe: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
Released March 19, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire
Directed by Daniel Alfredson
Released July 9, 2010

The first chapter of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy is now on DVD and still playing in select theatres, and the second film is out in many theatres now. The third chapter should be on the way to U.S. cinemas in October, and if the first two films are any indication, it’s going to be a blast. An American remake is even on the docket for 2012, helmed by David Fincher and possibly (though probably not) starring Carey Mulligan. Many New Yorkers can be seen reading the books on the subway every morning. Lisbeth Salander has officially made it over to the United States, and anyone who hasn’t seen the girl with the dragon tattoo in action should head to the theatre straight away.

A quick disclaimer: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire” are not for the faint of heart. Physical violence and disturbing sexual content are rampant throughout both films, and those who are squeamish will want to steer clear and opt for a more peaceful movie. Yet for those willing to take the leap, extraordinary rewards await. Lisbeth Salander is one of the coolest characters in a long time to grace the screen, seeking her revenge and getting her business done in an entirely unique way. Her partnership with disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist makes for an unbeatable team of unconventional investigators determined to serve justice and expose criminals for who they are.

There are few boundaries not knocked down in the first two films chronicling Lisbeth and Blomkvist’s exploits to investigate a decades-old murder and a major sex trafficking ring. The unfettered nature of the character and the films help make them extremely strong and compelling, and give the films a decided edge over regular American fare of the same sort (not that there really exists anything of the same sort). With nothing held back, both films are fierce thrill rides that make their lengthy run times (152 and 129 minutes, respectively) feel not a moment too long. While they’re both great films, the first is perhaps more exciting simply because it’s the first glimpse of Lisbeth and this treacherous and frightening world in which she lives and operates.

Less than halfway through the first film, Lisbeth Salander is already a classic screen character, where the unpredictability of her actions is what makes her so legendary and fantastic. Her uncanny resolve and resourcefulness are supreme assets that aid her in bringing down the bad guys. While there’s no real comparison to her, the rest of the characters are also marvelously fleshed-out and layered, and neither film limits its perspective to only that of Lisbeth and Blomkvist, opting instead for a cleverly selective omniscient point of view. Getting information in pieces from multiple standpoints makes for two fun, energetic thrillers that build the excitement level and don’t let it die down until the closing moments. Bring on part three.

Both: B+

1 comment:

Laura said...

what?!?! only a B+