Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright, Daniel Craig…Three actors I have admired in the past, and even do in this movie. The “girl”, I’ve never heard of. Like the movie where she truly is insignificant (at least treated that way), I don’t know who she is. She is a nobody. Nothing. But managed to keep me intrigued, I will admit.
This movie is a chore to sit through, the plot is convoluted at best, but what I can’t get over is just how drab, dreary and ugly this movie looks. It is relentless with soft lighting everywhere, bland, boring, unimaginative camera work and the pacing is painfully slow. I felt almost every minute of the movie’s 2 ½ hour run time.I am grateful I didn’t have to sit in a theatre to watch this.
The two things that really hold this mess of a film together is, while the story takes forever to unfold, once it does it is intriguing. But every vile revelation is met or told with all the emotion of a someone having afternoon tea with a friend. “Oh, my father and brother raped me over and over again, one lump or two?” I guess this movie is supposed to be about the banality of evil but everything just comes across as exploitation. There are two, unnecessarily, graphic and disgusting anal rape scenes. It seems like Fincher just revels in this level of violence. The rape scene could be justified if it had some sort of material impact on the character, but it didn’t. All it showed was that she gets revenge a few minutes later but other than one minor moment much later in the film it is never mentioned again.
There was so much hype about this movie. And I’m less than impressed. It reveals men in a very dismal light. None of them can be trusted. Even the key character that seems to “be there” for the dragon lady, cheats on his wife with her. Yes, of course, its a gratuitous tit scene that all the paying customers not only want, but expect. And yet another quickie for the “adult” (aka male) viewers of her lesbian encounter with a stranger she meets in a bar. Hot…if you’re into that sort of thing. Pointless?…totally. Gratuitous, even though tastefully done and minimal, as usual.
The girl with the tattoo is a formally sexually abused girl, confused, and pretty much had a shit life most of us can’t begin to fathom. I think the movie is supposed to portray her as a “strong” female role. And she is… in a way. She’s put up a wall and is the tough girl that no one can penetrate. Oooops, except that one poor guy who penetrated her ass in a brutal rape scene. No point whatsoever except to capture the already overstimulated, desensitized audience. I have read that the rape scene is pivotal in the next sequence. But I just felt is was over the top. I saw “Accused” with Jodie Foster. That rape scene, though hard to watch, was instrumental in the film. This just seemed like the director was, sadly, going for shock and awe. And she got revenge. And some may find it “sweet”. I found it repulsive. I wasn’t slapping high fives for her. It left me completely cold..and felt like limping for an hour.
But what bothers me the most is the way they advertised this movie. See picture above. It screams sexuality, weak woman needs man to save her, women are instruments of nothing more than to be abused, objectified and less than significant. And the man (savior) is fully clothed of course, and gripping her as if to say “I will save you my damsel in distress!”… I am drawn to the dark side. Having a degree in criminal justice, I can appreciate a good thriller, even if sexually dark. I am no prude. This movie had potential. But as per usual, the gratuitous sex, T & A, and portrayal of the weak woman, has gotten the better of me. And WHY is it that movies such as this consistently show the women on top in a sex scene? Come on now…I’ve been around a while… Maybe its the camera angle they use to capture the woman’s perfect tits? Yeah, thought so. And might I add, men need to realize that movies like this make them look like brutal rapists, non-trustworthy animals.
The movie’s last act felt like it was tacked on, after a natural ending point the movie goes on for another 15 or 20 minutes for no real reason – to give us resolution on a plot point that didn’t need one. I found myself wanting it to end. Not a good sign.
It was too long. I was tempted to fast forward more than once. And I’m tired of directors, writers and producers trying to claim they are empowering women in these roles, when in fact, they are only reinforcing the societal expectation that women are weak, perpetual victims, and sexual objects to and for men.
Final note: The picture above was the original layout for the promotion of the movie. They took it down after many complaints. And the original title of the movie was “Men Who Hate Women”. They changed that as well. Maybe they thought it was a bit too harsh? Perhaps. Who knows. But I think that title suits the movie perfectly.
I want my money back.