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fuck girl with the dragon tattoo—a rant about an overrated movie
Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Fuck Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the horse it rode in on

Fuck this movie.

I am so sick of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

I hate to sound like a nabob of negativity, but after sacrificing 10 hours on this stupid story, I feel entitled.

That’s right, ten hours: at least six on the novel and two on the first (Swedish) movie version. And now, two hours and forty minutes on David Fincher’s American remake.

Three years ago, after falling for the buzz, I read/skimmed the book, and found it utterly pedestrian except, perhaps, for the character of antisocial computer hacker Lisbeth Salander.

I watched the Swedish version of the movie because, while reading the book, I thought that while it was a pretty shitty crime novel it could make for a decent flick.

But now we have this absurd remake, a Hollywood cash-grab featuring a mostly American cast speaking English pretending to be Swedish trying to solve a boring-ass mystery that was barely interesting the first time.

fuck girl with the dragon tattoo—a rant about an overrated movie
Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009).

I went because several family members (two of my sisters and my mother, primarily) wanted to see it and because all the critics seem to be in love with Rooney Mara as Salander.

But why is the public so enamoured with this dull Swedish crime import?

Why people love Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Two words: anal rape.

Yes, just like when moviegoers freaked out 40 years ago over Deliverance, with its threat of (male) anal rape, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – with not just one but two scenes of the violent act – has captured, even titillated, the imaginations of middlebrow North American sensibilities.

Certainly, the plot can’t account for why this material is being picked over. There is so much wrong with Dragon Tattoo‘s story – the whole main mystery plotline, what powers the next 160 minutes, hinges on the audience not suspecting anything when, right at the very beginning, we are told that a girl is definitely dead, even though the body was never found (and anyone who has read more than one or two mysteries or watched any TV will know that no body = no death) – that there’s no way that the main plot on its own can account for the book’s insane popularity.

The only level on which it works, or offers anything new/interesting/different, is the character of Salander. And her character only comes alive in the scenes which have nothing to do with the murder mystery itself; her rape by, and subsequent revenge on, her state-appointed guardian could be in a totally different movie, so little bearing does it have on the rest of the 150 minutes.

No doubt Salander’s resourcefulness makes her an empowering role model (witness my 76-year-old mother’s vocal satisfaction, in the theatre, at seeing the character making off with a couple of billion euros).

fuck girl with the dragon tattoo—a rant about an overrated movie
The novel that started it all!

But The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is utter nonsense. The reason that it has hit a nerve is its subtext about violence against women (the book’s original Swedish title in translation is Men Who Hate Women). However, it does so not with art and subtlety but – especially in Fincher’s sloppy-thirds stab at the material – by bludgeoning the viewer and reader with its “message.”

Unfortunately, Fincher’s movie also uses the very thing it pretends to protest – violence against women – to make millions and millions of dollars.

fuck girl with the dragon tattoo—a rant about an overrated movie
Cover of graphic novel version.
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