Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Man som hattar kvinnor) (2009)

Men Who Hate Women - what a brilliant title. Yet, this shall be known forever with its stupid new name. Deservedly so.

I haven't read the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, so I can't go into a comparative discussion of the resulting film and its source material. Regardless of how much they may have butchered from (or improved on) the novel, the end result is a massive dung of a movie.

Let's get first things first - it is long, very long. I'm usually fine with butt-numbing and bladder-bursting running times - if it takes 3 hours to tell your story, well then you should tell it in 3 hours. If it takes 3 films of 3 hours to tell your story, yes you should do that too. Hell, I'll even allow you to add extra scenes for the DVD/BluRay release. Just make sure that it's actually a "film". The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not a film - it is a cheap TV series gone horribly, horribly wrong.

I'm not very good at synopsizing films (as my reviews will attest to that), so bear with me on this one.

Mikael Blomkvist writes in a left-leaning political magazine. He has just been found guilty for writing a libelous article on a weapons manufacturer and sentenced to 3 months in prison and 150,000 Krona. He will serve his time in 6 months time. This will have absolutely no effect on the plot whatsoever.

Meanwhile, a punk-chick "professional hacker" has been hired by a third party to follow Blomkvist around on her motorcycle. Still, no sign of the actual plot.

Blomkvist is then called to a snow-covered little town, where the patriarch of a wealthy family tells him the story of his niece's disappearance 40 years ago. It turns out it was this patriarch that hired the biker chick. OK, we're getting to the actual plot here.

As Blomkvist settles in an out-house and investigates the disappearance (everyone in the family could be a suspect), we find more about our biker chick - her name is Lisbeth, she is on parole, she is a lesbian (it then turns out that she is bisexual - does it really matter? No, but they felt it did and put it in the film), she has a Macbook, and she somehow shows interest in Blomkvist's quest once she hacks in to his computer. Why? No explanation. Oh, and she has a dragon tattoo. Soon, Lisbeth sends Blomkvist an email and they partner up to find the truth behind the missing girl.

Up to this point, there seems to be two different films - the whodunit (no, scratch that, whudunwhat) with Blomkvist, and a rape-revenge drama with Lisbeth in Stockholm. Wait ... what rape? Exactly. Once Lisbeth literally goes medieval on her rapist's ass, she jumps into Blomkvist's film. I think all those scenes with her in Stockholm meant to develop her character, but they have absolutely no bearing on what transpires afterwards. Seriously, how did this shit even get made in the first place?

Things don't really improve when they join forces either - they spend the rest of the film typing on their individual Macbooks and finding shit on the internet, uploading photos ... you know, pretty mundane everyday stuff that you and I do. If Jack Bauer uses a cellphone to save the world, Blomkvist and Lisbeth have their Macbooks. Booyah!

I think it's about time that I mention the Nazis now. See, it turns out several members of the family were members of the Nazi party (OK, I'm getting sick of this shortcut in films - he's a bad guy, so he must have connections to the Nazi party). Crucially, the cuddly old patriarch isn't, which is ridiculously convenient. Soon, the story shifts from what happened to the missing girl (40 years, I mean ... this is so stupid, my head hurts) to a faux-Dexter my-daddy-taught-me-how-to-kill bullshit. The ending is so boring that I needed to check my brain to see if it's still  functioning properly.

Does my disappointment end there? No. What is with the dragon tattoo? We only saw it once and does it really matter that she has a dragon tattoo? Maybe in the other installments (which are ready to be unleashed on our screens) the story behind her tattoo will be revealed, but I'm pretty sure her complex relationship with her father will have some ... sorry, just had to yawn for a second ... thing to do with it.

My brain still hurts. I'm mourning for the money I spent on this. By the end of it I was mad, tired, and numb. It ruined my Friday night. It's so bad, that I'm pretty sure it will be the worst film this year. Bona fide Cineskunk.

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