Blogs > Pop Watch

Bill Ewald's take on pop culture.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"

It would seem that at the very beginning of “The Social Network,” Trent Reznor’s soaring electronic score would run away with the film much like Anton Karas’ zither theme dominated Carol Reed’s 1949 movie “The Third Man.” But soon Reznor’s music must duke it out with Aaron Sorkin’s dense machine gun-delivered script. And luckily for the viewer, the sound fest clash between the two Oscar winners ends in a draw under the meticulous direction of David Fincher who manages to provide us an entertaining take on what could have been a rather dull disposition on the creation of Facebook.
Fincher, Reznor and “Social Network” actress Rooney Mara
 are nearing completion of the filming of an American remake of the brilliant Swedish film “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which is due out in December. The original was Swedish sensation Noomi Rapace’s breakout role. She reprised the part in two sequels, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” All firms were closely based on the best selling crime novels by Stieg Larsson, who died before they were published.
Fincher et al. will have a tough time equaling the original psychological thriller that focuses on the abused, young tattooed, nose-ringed woman Lisbeth Salender, who must rely on her wits to wreak vengeance on her abusive guardian. Lisbeth, a computer hacker savant, helps a journalist, Mikael Blomqvist (played by Michael Nyqvist), solve a 40-year-old mystery about a missing girl, and then they stumble upon a series of brutal murders of young women. Believe it or not, there’s a love story somewhere in the trilogy.
Rapace’s character is the culmination of many other fictional heroines before her who learned to fight back and overcome the stereotype of women as victims. From the beginning, movies portrayed women as the most likely victims. Dracula and other monsters were free to run wild stalking and killing women.
In 1960, director Alfred Hitchcock continued this theme with “Psycho,” the mother of all slasher films. It set the tone for this genre during the next 50 years. (“Scream 4” has just been released.)
It wasn’t until 1978 when John Carpenter made “Halloween” — starring Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh whose character was stabbed to death in “Psycho” — that women finally got to assert themselves and fight back -- at least to a draw in Curtis’ case. Since then, female characters have more often survived, avenged and triumphed over evil. Many were super-heroines or highly-trained combatants. But now we have Lisbeth Salander who must use her computer skills and photographic memory to foil the bad guys. She reminds us that crimes against women will no longer go unpunished.
Move over Buffy Summers, Sydney Bristow, Lara Croft and all of the Nikitas, Lisbeth Salander is the new heroine of the 21st century. 

All of the films and TV shows mentioned are out on DVD.
All three of Larsson’s books were on the New York Times Best Sellers lists at the same time. For those of you who have read all of the “Millennium Trilogy” and have seen all of the films and are suffering from Lisbeth Salander withdrawal, you should check out some other riveting tales set in the cold, stark Swedish landscape written by another mystery writer, Henning Mankell. Three episodes of his “Wallander” series, starring Kenneth Branagh, where shown on PBS’s “Mystery” series last fall. They are out on DVD as are two DVD seasons of the Swedish versions of other “Wallander novels featuring Noomi Rapace’s husband (separated), Ola Rapace, in a supporting role. Unfortunately,it was ecently reported that Mankell’s “The Troubled Man” will be his final book in his “Wallander” series.

Lisbeth Salander is officially now a part of pop culture since her name was mentioned on a recent televised episode of “NCIS” when one of the investigators compared her to a student hacker who was caught brokering arms sales to terrorists on her computer.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home