Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The critically acclaimed Swedish thriller contains a number of well-worn cliches, an unlikely pairing (in this case the investigative journalist and the hacker), a conspiracy involving a large, rich family, a mystery to piece together.
Based on the hit series of books by the late Stieg Larsson with a trilogy of film adaptions already released in Sweden it seems odd that these have been picked up for American audiences - if there ever was a hit ‘foreign film’ that could survive the transition, it would be this one. The final reveal might seem even more generic set in the United States, but there is little here that wouldn’t work transplanted into Hollywood. The disturbing scenes involving the hacker, Lisbeth and her new probation officer might be toned down but even this wouldn’t lessen the impact.

The problem with the film is that it seems to be heaped with praise solely for being a Swedish film that takes on English language productions. Were a similar story with similar characters to come out of North America, few would bat an eyelid depending on who starred and directed as this type of thriller is churned off the Hollywood production line on a regular basis. The film is well acted and crafted, but then not all of the English language releases are pap - England itself is hardly short on conspiracy thrillers or murder mysteries centered around well-off extended families.
Every year a couple of world cinema titles get lauded and fawned over incessantly in the West, with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and City of God being prime examples, but whilst they may become over hyped by the end of the circus they are still good films. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is one of the first times I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about - a solid thriller but nothing you haven’t seen before.


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