In the Process of the Investigation: David Fincher and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Most filmmakers, good and bad alike, are interested in answering some variation of why; David Fincher, in his present analytical mode, seems more interested in questions of how and in what order. In Fincher's bam-bam-bam construction (what Daniel Kasman called "a montage-based cinema of this happened and then this happened and then this"), causality takes precedence over the usual business of plot; every scene is approached as a process which can then be portrayed as a string of individual details and actions. 

Fincher's new film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, would sound more like a surveillance transcript than a thriller if it were broken down scene-by-scene. Amongst other things, the film obsessively logs: the characters' smoking habits (Mikael Blomkvist, played by Daniel Craig, is an outdoor Marlboro smoker, while Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara, chain-smokes American Spirits indoors; bit character Isabella Vanger, played by Bergman regular Inga Landgré, is defined by her unwillingness to extinguish her cigarette in a non-smoking area) and coffee-drinking; Lisbeth Salander's eating habits (microwaved ramen noodles, junk food from the vending machine at the Vanger Corporation's archive, the cans of Coca-Cola seen in her fridge and later packed into her backpack) and sex life (Blomkvist's is only depicted when it intersects with hers'); Blomkvist and Salander's use of computers (scanning photos, printing, Googling names, reading Wikipedia and corporate websites) and cellphones (after Blomkvist relocates to the estate of Henrik Vanger, played by Christopher Plummer, the film prefaces each of Blomkvist's phone calls with a scene of him trying to find reception); trips by train, plane and subway (a recurring pattern in the film: a shot of a character at a train station or airport, followed by a shot of them in transit and then a shot of their arrival); and every time either Blomkvist or Salander crosses the bridge that leads to the Vangers' private island. Fincher converts drama into data, and then orders it in sequential order. Again: "a montage-based cinema of this happened and this happened and then this..."  

Take, for example, a sequence from early in the film, where Blomkvist comes to the offices of his magazine, Millenium, to discuss legal problems with his editor and on-and-off lover, Erika Berger (Robin Wright). In the hands of most filmmakers, this would be a pretty simple sequence: a man enters a building and opens the door of an office. Fincher, though, begins the scene with Blomkvist going to a cafe and ordering a coffee. Then he catches a news story about himself on television and, after briefly hesitating, buys a pack of cigarettes from the woman at the cafe counter.  Cut to a shot of Blomkvist outside of the cafe, lighting his cigarette. Blomkvist then crosses the street, enters Millenium's headquarters, makes eye contact with his co-workers, and then finally enters Berger's office.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is thick with these kinds of "process-sequences," which range from the sprawling (the film's epilogue, in which Salander dons a disguise and commits an elaborate heist, being one prominent example) to the miniature (a brief scene of Salander making a meal, presented as a series of rapid cuts between items mid-preparation; a similar sequence where Blomkvist finds a cat, goes to buy some cat food, and then feeds his new pet—all the while, of course, looking for cellphone reception). In lieu of the usual hierarchy of major and minor action—plot and incident—Fincher foregrounds everything

Like their work for The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score eschews the usual hallmarks of film music—leitmotifs, commentary, counterpoint with the action—in favor of tinkly-twinkly atmospherics, aggressive rumbles and synth pulses; it's more of a musical membrane, a connective tissue for all of Fincher's dramatic information. The result is a constant sensation of convergence, of piece falling into place (even when the sequence in question is merely of a man deciding to cross the street). Though it's nominally a serial killer mystery—and a pretty lurid one at that, with Bible verses, Nazis, patricide and incest all making appearances—The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is, through the sheer volume of details, more a movie about an investigative process than a crime. The solution to the mystery isn't a goal—it's the logical outcome. One clue leads to another, then to another and to another...

The film's clear sense of cause-and-effect is predicated on Fincher's visual style: hyperrealistic lighting, an authoritatively crisp sense of framing (Fincher favors static shots and creeping dollies over handheld and Steadicam), and a fondness for subtly low angles. There's also a fair amount of visual repetition, with similar things being photographed in similar ways—though that probably owes as much to Fincher's belief in a sort of directorial objectivity as to a grand rhyme scheme (Fincher is quoted as saying: "People will say, 'There are a million ways to shoot a scene,' but I don't think so. I think there're two, maybe. And the other one is wrong."). Blomkvist is frequently shown in close-up, photographed head-on from an angle just slightly lower than the eye-line—meaning that he always looks like he's staring at something just behind and above the camera.

As Blomkvist always seems to be looking at something, Salander always seems to be going somewhere; Rooney Mara is repeatedly photographed in close-up from behind—walking, on an escalator, on her motorcycle—with special attention paid to the nape of her skinny neck. Though Fincher never connects these two recurrent shots—that is, there's never a point where Blomkvist is looking at the back of Salander's head—they come to define both the characters and their peculiar dynamic: Blomkvist as an impassive observer, awe-struck, somewhat fogeyish (in many of these shots, Blomkvist is removing the glasses he wears to read; the screenplay, by the likeably hacky Steven Zaillian, plays up the age difference between the two characters); Salander is unknowable, a force with considerable momentum and mysterious intentions. In other words, Dragon Tattoo essentially replicates the sexual politics of the pulpy Stieg Larsson bestseller it's based on—a wish-fulfillment fantasy disguised as a thriller which, despite pretensions to "feminism," conceives of women as beguiling, dangerous, complex systems to be investigated by men (i.e. Larsson). Which isn't to say that Fincher's investigation is anything like Larsson's.

The Social Network's paranoid, perfectionist social monster Mark Zuckerberg seems like the first draft of a "Fincherian hero"—a young man whose compulsive drive ironically drives everyone away from him. Lisbeth Salander, then, is the revision (one thing that identifies Fincher as a very old-school auteur is the remarkable thematic consistency he's maintained from film-to-film despite never having written a single screenplay; Fincher's distinctive sense of form and construction turns every character into a Fincher character).

Part of that stems from the performance given by Rooney Mara (The Social Network's very own Rosebud sled!), which, in true Fincher fashion, avoids putting palpable psychological depth front-and-center in favor of virtuoso technique and precise detail (in that sense, it reminds me of Edgar Ramirez's work in Olivier Assayas' somewhat Fincherian Carlos, which has similar emphases on process, causality, filmmaking craft, and sequence—though comparing Assayas to Fincher discounts the former's visual style, which favors dance-like drift, a camera continually in transit between two points of action).

Like Eisenberg's Zuckerberg, Mara's Salander speaks in a distinctive, strange cadence. Her measured half-monotone, like Zuckerberg's manic speechifying, vocally isolates her from everyone else—though, unlike Zuckerberg, the isolation also extends to her body language: shruggy, withdrawn, always avoiding eye contact. (In a suggestive detail, Craig—who, throughout the film, gives more or less the usual Daniel Craig performance with a hint of Liam Neeson—adopts Salanderesque body language in a climactic scene upon realizing that the man he's talking to is a serial killer—a sly actorly hint that the biggest difference between the two characters is that Salander is always aware that she's living in a sinister world, while Craig's Blomkvist needs the threat of death to remind him.)

Early in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Salander is brought into the office of her boss at Milton Security to talk to Henrik Vanger's lawyer, Frode (Steven Berkoff). Vanger wanted a background check on Blomkvist before hiring him, and Salander is the person tasked with the investigation (it's through Frode that Blomkvist eventually meets up with Salander halfway through the film). Staring at a wall, she dispassionately lists everything she knows about Blomkvist. When Frode presses her for further, more personal observations—"the dirt," the kind of stuff that would permit someone to pass judgement on another's character—she resists. Finally, after a lot of prodding, she mentions Blomkvist's relationship with Berger (who is married) and then gives the opinion that he doesn't go down on her often enough. After being made privy to this very personal detail about the man his boss intends to hire, Frode agrees that the information was, as Salander claimed, unnecessary. 

This brief discussion outlines the organizing principles of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: constant surveillance of the exterior makes looking into the interior unnecessary. Fincher keeps his distance. With the exception of some trademark trick shots—such as a camera lurching over Salander (from behind, of course) to settle on a close-up of her face, framed upside-down—he approaches the action with a degree of impassivity, like a crime scene photographer. Though Fincher has his expressionist bursts (such as Dragon Tattoo's James Bond-style opening credits), his current style is mostly forensic. This finds a perfect counterpart in The Social Network's legal framework; in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it turns the movie into an investigation of an investigation—a thriller about a thriller. 

The climactic showdown with the killer even plays off of this intermingling of grisly subject matter and surface calm: in a move that recalls the finale of another icy / obsessive serial killer movie, Michael Mann's Manhunter, it's scored to a piece of diegetic music that the killer himself puts on—though, instead of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita," it's Enya's incongruous dentist's office favorite "Orinoco Flow" (it seems that evil isn't just banal, but middle-brow, too). Instead of a cinema of sympathy, subjective sensation, and movement, Fincher breaks everything down into facts; characters are reduced to their processes, and are then reconstituted into characters when those processes are ordered in sequence, with narrative as the mechanism that sets the sequences in motion. Action becomes the only visible facet of a personality rather than that personality's outgrowth; when Salander, in a scene very late in the film, tells Blomkvist about her early life, it registers neither as a "revealing moment" nor as a glimpse into her "motivation," but as another datum.

Responses

21 responses to this post.  Join the discussion

  • johnsonisjohnson

    Class A review.

  • Ben Simington

    Can’t wait to see this so I can then read the review.

  • Derriere Garde

    A great descriptive review. If there’s a value judgement in it I must have skimmed over it.

  • John Lehtonen

    Being that I really like Fincher from Zodiac-on, this review makes me quite excited to see the film. Excellent work.

  • Sachin

    Wow, what a great review! This was published after the embargo but if ever there was a review which deserved to be free of any date constraints, this is surely it.

  • Michael Clark

    I’m thick. Really thick. The first time I read this review, I didn’t actually get if the reviewed enjoyed and recommended the film. “A thriller about a triller” is a good or a bad thing? It’s a film about process. Is that good or do you want a film with results?

    I’m not a writer is pretty obvious and “I did (or didn’t) like the Stieg Larsson novels” is also probably too obvious for the review to tell us, but I guessing from “pulpy” and "pretensions to "feminism"" parts, he didn’t?

    Plus no mention of THE scene from the first Swedish film which is the event we have to remember through the entire trilogy, the rape. That was a brutal scene to watch. Actually no mention of the original Swedish films at all. Even my friend who hates the films and novels admitted, “I was kind of neat to see what a Swedish jail looked like.” I guess I was wondering how “Americanized” the film was since Larsson’s story is very much about issues in present-day Sweden rather then a triller. This isn’t a story that could as easily take place in Stockholm as it could in Johannesburg, Toronto or Sydney.

  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    MC,

    It was a conscious decision to not talk about the subjective experience of the film as much as the “objective” one — focusing on the film as a “process” seemed to me like a more accurate way of burrowing into the world of the film, of getting on to its wavelength (also, you’ll notice that this isn’t marked as a “review” — our reviews are always identified as such in the title — but as an essay).

    The Larsson novels are pretty silly. Nonetheless, a great director can alter meaning completely even when remaining faithful to the source material — which, I think, Fincher does here. One common complaint about both the novel and the Swedish film versions is that they’re fairly sadistic toward the Salander character, really focusing on all the humiliation and violence she endures. Fincher’s “process-sequence” routine means that he tends to be more focused on her sense of self-control — it struck me that he seemed more interested in what Salander does after she gets raped than the rape itself. The Fincher version of Salander seems to be in control more often.

    As for the Swedish setting — the movie does some interesting / odd things with handling, specifically in regard to language. All of the dialogue is in English, but only “relevant” pieces of text are (i.e. whatever the character are reading); everything else on screen is in Swedish.

  • Mac

    With Fincher, style is content, but that doesn’t mean style is also substance.

  • Ben Simington

    Great piece…and I agree with Derriere: I personally didn’t care for the film, but I still recognize and agree with the observations here.

  • Ghazal Ahmadi

    I haven’t seen the fincher’s version yet, but I have yet to see a single one good remake of any movie! I liked the swedish version because it was a very dark depiction of gender politics and violence even in a country like sweden, and that the narration was as much focused on Salander as it was on Blomkvist so to give her character as much validity as his! However, from this and also the trailer I gather that this is not the case in fincher’s version? that Salander appears as the mysterious one without really going into the details as of why she is that way? I might be wrong but cutting out the most essential part of the original movie (the rape scene) is kind of like censoring out her experience altogether for the sake of just a clean-cut and entertaining thriller that can please the audience rather than putting them out of their comfort zones!

  • Frederic Turner

    I can think of quite a few, including John Carpenter’s The Thing, Nosferatu, 13 Assassins, The Departed, True Grit… And at the risk of coming off a pedant, I’m not sure this would even qualify as a remake proper, just another adaptation of a novel (much like True Grit, incidentally), and since the Swedish version was David Fincher Lite with a Made for TV budget and directing, it seems only fair Fincher takes a stab. Salander’s abuse has been mentioned in both the article and the comments, it just so happens there’s a focus on the after-effects rather than a lurid obsession over the act itself (which is also a problem within the novel and the Swedish adaptation). Sounds like a better deal. However, I won’t be able to see this for a few weeks yet, and it’s only for the talent involved rather than the honestly awful source material, but Fincher has surprised me in the past with both Zodiac and The Social Network, and this article makes a good case for points of interest to take away from it as well as an extension of his style and themes, so here’s hoping.

  • Chris M Ferguson

    Hi, I registered here to express some thoughts on the essay and the film. I haven’t been able to talk about with anyone, felt this was a good place to do it, hope you guys don’t mind.

    I agree that the film never hits an emotional climax, that there’s a sense of we’re moving from point A to point B throughout the film, as is the case with a procedural, but especially during the ending it’s felt most.

    I disagree though that this film is about details and data (or even a wish fulfillment fantasy), but it’s that all the little things that can be perceived as mundane tasks that these characters do reveal something of themselves, and while I wish the plot, which is always an inconvenience for me, was ditched in favor of fleshing out Lisbeth and Mikeal’s relationship, my favorite part of the film, it’s mainly about uncovering a mystery.

    But it also deals with a man who’s embroiled in troubles at work, with his partner, and is also a distant father. And while I would agree that I don’t particularly feel for Blomkvist, I do a bit once he’s in Lisbeth’s life.

    And so if this film feels cold and analytical, I don’t know what to tell you, other than: You’ve just seen a David Fincher film.

    That’s what he does. His characters are cold and analytical — they’re detectives, they’re computer hackers and programmers. They’re lost, isolated, and looking for something, as in Benjamin Button. Hell, Fincher’s less interested in Michael Douglas in The Game and more interested in the unfolding of the actual game and how it affects Douglas’ character.

    But his filmmaking is my favorite thing about him, how he manages to put his stamp on every script, as you stated, and create something unique. I feel that the filmmaking here is so reserved and confident compared to everything else in his films, including the absolutely ridiculous CG shots in Panic Room, that even the “trick shot” you mentioned involving the swing over Lisbeth’s face is really eery, but still feels reserved, as is the pacing of the film. It’s calm yet tense, and can be abrupt.

    The most stylish he gets, other than the title credits, is the framing of some scenes involving Lisbeth and a gun towards the end.

    As we all know, the stage is the actor’s medium, the novel, the writer’s, and film, the director’s. And most filmmakers forget that, which is disappointing. By the opening credits, you know you’re watching a Fincher movie, which I can’t say for most directors that don’t have to resort to their trademark gimmicks. Brad Bird was talking about Nolan’s use of IMAX in DKR and used the word “showmanship” to describe it which is a wonderful word, especially as so many directors move towards handheld/shaky cam work in place of creating The Shot or Sequence. You know, iconic master shots that few directors like Spielberg and Nolan are doing.

    Kubrick was a master of The Shot, and like Fincher, was more interested in themes and ideas than any kind of emotional revelation, which is fine for me. Even Alex in Clockwork Orange who has probably the most interesting character arc in Kubrick’s work but the focus is on the ideas, the forensic investigation into his psyche and possibly redemption.

    I also don’t think the story has any kind of feminist agenda, even if Larsson set out with one, it’s very clear the focus is on creating an incredibly interesting female character, who yes, rises over a women killer, but it’s a story about people, specifically a relationship between a man and a woman. I think a wish fulfillment fantasy and feminist icon is found in Joss Whedon’s Buffy where the focus is clearly on empowering women, not just one, but many.

    On the same note, some critics have written about Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth, saying she’s softer, more sexualized, and even less empowered, as one writer describes a scene where Lisbeth asks Daniel Craig’s character permission to hunt a guy down, versus the original film where she runs off as Blomkvist yells at her to wait. It’s a small change that seems to water down Lisbeth, but to me, it shows that she feels that they’re in this together, which highlights the poignancy of the ending for me.

    Even the poster showing a nude Mara wrapped in Daniel Craig’s arms: Some misunderstood it to be Lisbeth declawed in her savior’s embrace. But it’s Blomkvist who needs Salander, not the other way around. I think it’s a subtle design knowing the full context — he’s hiding behind HER.

    I also feel the marketing missed its mark here, even though I loved it, including the cuts of the trailers and TV spots. It’s clear that the series has more female fans than male fans and Fincher, Scott Rudin, and the other producers did their large female fanbase a disservice by putting their vulnerable heroine on a poster without a shirt in the arms of the male character. In the context of the film, it makes sense, but there was a missed opportunity here to highlight Lisbeth in the posters, and even trailers, not as a bad-ass hero, but as a unique character. She’s the star of the show, and Rooney Mara gives such a wonderful subdued performance.

    Side note: The opening titles were probably my favorite I’ve ever seen. Most title sequences I feel are masturbatory exercises and cheap ways of setting up tone and atmosphere, but here he gives us a look into Lisbeth’s subconscious, it’s a wonderful idea that I hope to play with in the future. It reminded me of the titles to Fight Club as we enter Edward Norton’s brain.

    The biggest shortcoming for me is the ending, which after Se7en, you would think Fincher wouldn’t play it so safe regarind the Big Bad. I wonder if he would’ve changed it with a longer pre-prod.

    As I write this one night from seeing the film, I’m struck by how the environments of the film have stuck with me. There’s a real sense of time and place that I haven’t felt from another film for a very long time. The pacing certainly helps here as we take our time in each room to make it meaningful, whether it’s Lisbeth’s apartment, Mikael’s cabin, or even the board room meeting early on feel cold and antiseptic yet have character. These places feel more real than locations out of a documentary as these places are elevated by a combination of the lighting, music, composition, character and set design. It’s Fincher at the top of his game.

    His work on the Red digital camera is the best digital has looked, and it seems like he toned down the color grading from the first trailer. Most directors don’t even know how to use color grading other than to apply thick coats of orange and teal, and here, with his base lighting set ups, Fincher uses it to enhance the mood, add some texture. Looking the recent Dark Knight Rises trailer, it feels like a breath of fresh air from the color grading in big budget films and even small movies from Aki Kaurismaki have thick swaths of it.

    Though Fincher’s overused technique of using that sodium vapor look, he always manages to add new textures onto it. His entire filmography could be described as urine-colored, and I say that affectionately.

    There’s a wonderful masterclass in cinematography in two scenes, both involving the same bedroom where a sexual assault occurs. Without spoiling too much, the first time we enter, we get a clear sense of where everything is in the bedroom, the geography, and the color is a mix of oak wood and vanilla. But the second time we enter, a small change like moving a simple bedroom lamp completely changes the feeling of the room into something threatening and ominous. It’s amazing.

    I also want to say the sexual assault noted above made me sick to my stomach in a way I’ve never felt during a film, and I grew up with horror films and even shock films like Cannibal Holocaust. So much of the power of that scene is how reserved it is, Fincher refuses to shake the camera around to intensify the scene, he stands his ground, only showing us what we need to see. It was vastly more effective than the incredibly long rape in Irreversible, which is meant to be the lynchpin of the film’s events yet is voyeuristic instead of emotional.

    The murder scene involving a stabbing near a lake in Fincher’s Zodiac is still the most heart-wrenching killing I’ve seen in a film. No music, only the sound design of the screams paired with birds chirping and wind blowing. People die, life goes on. The mundanity of it is so much more effective any horror film I’ve seen.

    The sound design in Dragon Tattoo is incredible. Small things like as Rooney shifts in her seat in a leather jacket and hearing the leather rub together in surround sound says so much when in another movie, that sound would be lowered under the dialog. Her small silent action says more than words of how she feels. The music has many great touches, even feeling at times like the companion winter version of Pink Floyd’s “Meddle.” The way small notes bounce from speaker to speaker to create a tense wall of sound is great.

    Along with the ending, there’s one other thing I felt could have been done here which is the general tone. In Alien 3, among many of its problems, there’s one that goes unsaid in criticisms of the film which is the lack of humor. It was incredibly dark and post-apocalyptic in its scorched earth orange color and dried beef character design in the ugly mugs of its cast. Se7en and Fight Club had its share of laughs, but here in Dragon Tattoo, the dialog I felt needed an extra punch up to let the film breathe a little more. Tension builds and builds and becomes more of a weight than an exciting feeling. You need light to remind people what darkness is and Fincher’s general cynicism gets the best of him at times.

    To go onto a tangent for a moment…

    Having known a woman like Lisbeth, the nail biting out of anxiety and stress, the isolating act of working with computers and hacking, the consummation of cheap, unhealthy food, the need for physical relationships and not emotional ones as emotions like love and happiness are to be feared than embraced, the use of clothing, tattoos, and piercings as repellants — it rings so true for me and it makes me sad, but more than anything, it makes me angry. But it’s part of the film, it’s not an accident — this is Fincher’s attention to detail, along with Steig Larsson’s, and Rooney Mara’s performance — I’ve never seen anything like it.

    The root of the problem is always the parents and how the child was raised. Certain breeds of dogs are not born killers, as aren’t men and women, despite what some may tell you.

    You get what you raise.

    More than anything, I am happy a story this dark, one that’s willing to explore the aftermath of physical and emotional assault against women, has found an audience around the world. And they have found Lisbeth, their dark angel into the underworld.

    (Doing a quick scan over the Dragon Tattoo sequel, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, I see that it explores human trafficking, which I’m glad, as it’s a bigger problem than anyone’s willing to talk about. And if it means 65 million people who now know about it then before, that’s more good than most authors have done.)

    It’s fantastic that a country like Sweden which has extremely high rates of abuse towards women, has a heroine ike Lisbeth. (“Sweden Faces Facts Against Violence On Women”: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/29/world/europe/29iht-letter-4909045.html?pagewanted=all),

    If I could say anything to Lisbeth and women & men like her, I would give her this short moving article from 1994 by Andrew Vachss, a lawyer who only works with children who have been abused: “You Carry The Cure In Your Own Heart”: http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/disp_9408_a.html

    Whether it’s Hamlet, or Hannibal Lecter, fiction has always been a trojan horse for ideas that gives us windows into other worlds which allows us to investigate and understand ourselves, as we are to do the same with the kind and violent people who live with us.

    Sorry to bring it down, guys. God, this post is so long. Happy Holidays! 2012, woot!

    I love the write up, Ignatity. I’m in pre-production on a film that I hope you and Mr. Ebert review so I can die happy. Your thoughts and analysis inspire me as much as a great film or book. Do a podcast — please!

    (Also, describing Steve Zaillian as “likeably hackey” is so apt it made me chuckle.)

  • Daniel Kasman

    Wow Frederic, thank you for sharing that!

  • Frederic Turner

    I can’t for the life of me understand how someone like Whedon has gotten away for so long with the cachet of feminism, when he’s anything but. It speaks to a state of discussion rendered so absolutely murky that all you need to be qualified is to have women in tight clothes sometimes winning fights against men, regardless of their lecherous sexualisation, the slut-shaming (not to mention his attitudes on women involved in the sex trade) or the blonde stereotypes that permeate Whedon and co.‘s works. What an odious person. Of course if people like him are considered a bastion of progressiveness, something like Stieg Larsson’s post-humous reputation will be vindicated in spite of his nauseating excesses.

  • Chris M Ferguson

    I hope you give Whedon’s work another chance, Frederic. I’d love to discuss why I think Buffy is the best character in American literature, female or not, with a rich character arc, but it seems like you’re pretty set in your ways.

    I look forward to your thoughts on Dragon Tattoo when you’re able to see it.

  • Chris M Ferguson

    And thank you, @Daniel Kasman! I’m assuming you mistaken my name for Frederic, but I could be wrong. Thanks!

  • Ariel Esteban Cayer

    I wanted to take a moment to comment on the interesting discussion that’s going on here by contributing the two pieces this review has inspired me to write on the film. I used this essay as the backbone of both write-ups, so I only thought appropriate to share them here:

    http://filmghoul.tumblr.com/tagged/the_girl_with_the_dragon_tattoo

    Vishnevetsky, your writing has been illuminating to say the least, as I’ve been increasingly fascinated with mediated representations in film – specifically in the horror genre. Your angle, that looks at this film as focused on data is exactly the kind of thinking I’ve been interested in and stumbling upon this review was a great gift. As someone I admire for his sharp writing, feedback – from anyone interested in giving me some as well – would be extremely appreciated.

  • Carson Lund

    Blomkvist is spelled three different ways in the article: “Blomkvist” (the proper spelling), “Bloomkvist,” and “Bloomvist.” That’s not very Fincherian of you guys, is it?

    Other than that, a really great article that really nails all the details.

  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    Hah, Carson! Good catch. Can you tell which paragraphs were written very late at night? I’ll correct it.

  • Jesse Inman

    Hello, Ignatiy. I just wanted to congratulate you on an exceptionally brilliant piece of film essaying. I’ve read your post several times, and find it endlessly fascinating and enjoyable. I’ve also been an adamant viewer of “Ebert Presents At the Movies”, and I’ve had a lot of really great times watching you and Christy discuss cinema. I’m something of a cinephile, or wannabe, if you will. And two people like you, who are very fortunate to be able to see such great, interesting films, get to articulate your thoughts with such enthralling enthusiasm, and even detraction. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was no exception. It’s a film I’ve personally been intently keen on seeing. I’m a passionate fan of Fincher’s, and I’ve continuously thought he’d do excellently on the remake (he rather does in everything in my cinematic world view). You see, I’m an aspiring film critic myself, and I try to write my own amateur (emphasis on amateur) movie reviews. Watching Christy and yourself isn’t just entertainment, but to watch on how the professionals actually can do it, and have fun doing so. It was very exciting to be able to get to actually read something you had written for a change. And frankly, it had me rethink on how I could better the reviews I write, which I had always had to condense before. If I’m correct, then it’s okay to get into discussion on details you notice in a feature. I find all of that quite intoxicating. It’s a great feeling. But I’ll spare you the word-vomiting I have on the subject. I just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration and congratulations on your fantastic writing. I now look forward to seeing it. I have no clue if you actually check up on these comments. But I hope so. Regardless, I wish you very well and may the movies always hold their spell over you.

  • Alan Edit

    Amazing. I agree with a lot of it.

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